Monday, 3 September 2012

Notes on tasting wine with the Butler, "the smell"


The Smell of it!

Twenty two years ago I was a passenger in a car,driving back from the coast to London, with my Uncle. My Uncle was a Financial Adviser at the time and I innocently asked how he remembered all his clients names.

He said to me that the trick was word association, he told me that he latched on to items of clothing that his clients always wore and repeated them with their name.

For example Tim....bow ties, Tina......pearls and Steve.....cord jackets. It felt at the time like a conjurer's trick explained or that I had been privy to some industrial secrets.
 I thought back to this conversation some years later, when I started to get into wine tasting.

It seemed to me that wine, once broken down into words, can be remembered more easily.
Certain grapes have, sweeping with a broad broom, a continually distinctive taste.
Sauvignon Blanc has a smell of cut grass, Pinot Noir has the smell of cherries and Cabernet has a smell of Blackcurrants.


It doesn't just end there, because smell is very personal and memories are unique. I would go further and say that if you are trying two Sauvignons, they will smell very different to each other.
Therefore the more descriptive words you put with the wine, the better you will get at telling them apart.

So next time you open a bottle and before you try any food with the wine, fetch a clean glass and pour it a quarter full.
Swirl the liquid around, this releases the bouquet (a posh word for smell). Once done, raise it to your nose and close you eyes, concentrate on the wine smell and just say what you smell.

It may remind you of fruit, flowers, wood, chemicals, napalm in the morning, whatever.
There are no right or wrong answers, these are just your impressions of the wine.

Then when you have started your meal or if the bottle is saved for another day, repeat the process.
See how the wine changes with food, with the air or with the occasion. The more information you collate, the better.

Next week,the wine's appearance.

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