[Curiosity] How do you smell wine?

Before tasting a wine, it's essential to understand how to smell it to appreciate all its flavors.

Here's how! In fact, several equally important "steps" are necessary to enable the nose to appreciate and, in its own way, taste all the aromas of a wine:

⁃ First of all, you need to tilt your glass at 45° and place your nose in the lower part of the glass. This way you can start by taking a first sniff of the wine to "prime" the nose. This first step allows you to detect the wine's most volatile and subtle aromas.
⁃ Then you can amplify the aromas by gently shaking your glass to make the wine swirl, which will allow it to oxygenate and release more of the aromas.
      During this stage it's necessary to inhale more slowly and focus on the dominant fragrance. For the most expert, you can even identify one or more aromas. This is referred to as the first and second nose.

What is the first nose?

The first nose is the first olfactory contact you have with the wine in the glass. It corresponds to the very first stage when you tilt the glass before turning it.
Above all, it reveals the wine's flaws. You'll be able to tell right away whether the wine tastes of cork, vinegar, oxidation or reduction.
This first general impression needs to be confirmed with an analysis of the second nose and retro-olfaction.

What is the second nose?

The second nose takes place after the wine has been aired, i.e. once you've swirled your glass. At this precise moment, it's important to focus on the different aromas that will be expressed throughout the tasting.
First, you'll be able to identify the wine's main aromatic families: primary, secondary or tertiary.
Then, you will perceive the presence or absence of barrel ageing, with persistent oak, vanilla, etc.
Finally, as you continue to smell the wine, you'll be able to identify more precisely the major aromatic families: floral, fruity, peppery/spicy... give free rein to your imagination to describe what you smell!

What is retro-olfaction?

Retro-olfaction is a mechanism that translates the aromatic perception of a wine via the mouth and retronasal tract.

How does it work in practice? As you take a sip of wine, you simultaneously draw a little air into your mouth and release it through your nose.
In this way, you can identify the aromatic dimension of the wine a second time. However, this technique requires a little practice to get the most out of it.

Once you're fully aware of what you feel during the first nose, then the second nose and finally during retro-olfaction, you'll have no difficulty perceiving a wine's aromas during a tasting!

Happy tasting, in moderation!


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