Off the Vine: The Fine Art of Wine Sniffing

Off the Vine: The Fine Art of Wine Sniffing

Why do some people have a tendency of putting the glass up to their nose before tasting a wine? Is this some hallowed ritual performed by only the most seasoned of wine connoisseurs? The short answer is, sort of. In reality though it has to do more with science and something called the olfactory sense.

You see, smell is caused by one or more chemical compounds that we humans perceive by our sense of olfaction. Wines have chemical compounds and when you sniff a glass of wine you are using your nose or olfactory sense to tell your brain what you smell. In red wines you may detect things like chocolate, oak, red fruits, spice, tar and licorice. In whites it may be melon, apple, citrus, nutmeg or papaya.

The marvelous thing about wine is that it titillates on a number of levels. Not just through our sense of taste but also by our sense of smell. And guys, I must tell you, women are much better at this than we are. This may explain why so many women love perfume. They have a knack for describing even the most subtle aromas and that goes for wine as well.

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