Tasting a wine is all about the experience. Today we are going to talk about step #2 to tasting a wine. SMELL! Can you believe that there are actually 4 parts to smelling a wine?
I know right?! Why do people have to complicate something so easy.
But trust me, learning how to properly smell a wine will double or even triple the experience you are getting when you are enjoying a new wine.
Our noses are capable of differentiating millions of different scents. You will truly discover this as you learn to isolate and identify unique smells in your wine.
Why does getting a good scent matter?
Getting a good whiff and breath of the wine will kick up the experience 10 times! Try eating something like a strawberry with your nose plugged. It completely mutes the flavor! But once you open your nose you will notice a lot more complexity and depth to the strawberry! The same happens with wine.
So how do we smell the wine?
It’s pretty simple, but there are a couple steps that make smelling the wine more effective.
Step 1 – Swirl the glass. Some experts say that you need to swirl the wine for at least 10 seconds. Personally I feel that it varies based on of it’s a red or white. For red wines, the longer the wine is exposed to the air, the more alcohol that is let off and the more the tannin structure starts to mellow. So more air is beneficial, hence also why red wine glasses have a large opening. For a white wine, I prefer to only swirl for a couple seconds. If you notice, white wine glasses tend to have a smaller opening. This allows more of the wine vapors to stay in the glass.
Step 2 – Stick your nose in
Different glasses will put your nose either closer or further away from the wine. For red wines, it’s good to get a little closer to the wine level. For white wines, you want to be a little further away.
The distance your nose is from the glass has a huge impact on how you perceive the wine. That takes us back to whether or not you are using the correct wine glass for the wine that you have. Your glassware can have a big impact! If you don’t have a good variety of glasses, I like this set because it you can try a couple different sizes and shapes!
Even the type of nose you have can make a difference! Some noses don’t allow you to get as close to the wine and some get you even closer!
Step 3 – Now smell!
The technique you use for smelling can vary. Some experts like to take a long, deep inhalation through the nostril. This is my personal method. Some like to take a couple short sniffs. This is completely up to you. I suggest that you try both to see which you prefer!
Step 4 – Try to identify 3-5 different scents
Take a go at it and think about what you smell. Try to get 3-5 distinct smells. Explore it! Does it smell sweet? Does it smell sour? Wine can be fruity, earthy, floral, rocky to even smelling like old leather! Wines are drastically varied. About 1% of wines have a fault, which means you can even smell something like bandaids or wet dog!
It doesn’t matter if you are right or wrong (unless you evaluate wines professionally, then you probably need to right). Just get your nose in and start smelling!
Truly experiencing your wine and getting more into the process will give you a better experience when you are consuming wine. Personally, I found that taking the time to truly experience the wine has helped me have a better relationship with wine. In the past, I used wine as a coping mechanism, which should never be the case! Slowing down and experiencing the wine, now makes it all about the experience and not just how it made me “relax” or “forget”.
Now you are prepared and ready for step 3 to tasting a wine! I will be providing detailed info on a tasting a wine in the coming week, so stay tuned!
Are you a big nose smeller? Are you new to smelling?! Tell me what you like or don’t like when smelling a wine!
And as always, you can always reach me at Jennifer@JenniferSleider.com
Thanks for subscribing! Remember, you can always email me and let's chat about mom life, wine life, work, or whatever! Jennifer@JenniferSleider.com