Wine is necessarily fermented grape juice. It is essentially mashed old grapes blended with yeast that people drink. It is quite natural to ask the question, what makes folks so fascinated about rotten grapes?! Well; the truckload of excitement comes from biology, psychology, and chemistry; and also from the tiny molecules that traverse from the glass to the human body. Here are a couple of essential tips and tricks for all those who want to experience a glass of wine without appearing dumb.
It is irrelevant if you do not possess any knowledge about wine. What matters is that you are not supposed to place an order for something that you have never heard before. You might be tempted by the pompous-sounding Cabernet Sauvignon from California, but your taste buds could be craving for something else.
If you do not know what your heart wishes, a sommelier might inquire whether you would prefer white or red wine, New World or Old World. Also known as European wines, these Old World wines typically offer an earthier taste, while New World wines made in other areas of the globe happen to taste fruitier.
The only things you are required to share with the sommelier are your favorite tastes and your budget. If you are clueless about the sommelier’s queries, they could get creative and even inquire about your favorite band. Enjoying wines is as much biology as psychology.
If you have the curiosity of a child and the burning desire to learn new stuff, someone will provide you with that transformative bottle. They could even slash the selling price up to ten bucks to offer you with that heavenly experience.
You can very well be under the impression that humans are awful smellers, after all, they have less number (three hundred and fifty to a thousand) of active smell genes when compared to than that of mice and rats; but that does not put them in a worse position by default, as they are blessed with way better brains.
Wine is necessarily all about smells. It happens to be among the most vaporous-dense liquid, i.e., its molecules can evaporate from the surface and can be recognized by a person’s nose. You can also literally smell the subtle differences that exist between quite a few of these molecules.
Your nose is capable of registering a thousand aromas, perhaps more, with nifty little biochemical sensors fitted by mother nature inside the human nose. Now start sniffing! It all begins with unlearning what people learned in their childhood. For instance, all kids are taught in schools that dogs bark and fire engines are red. But wine is bound to smell like wine until you acquire grammar and syntax of smells you can comprehend.
Now that indeed takes practice and a lot of it. Start smelling all the vegetables and fruits at the supermarket, try to acknowledge what you smell while passing the sideway, do smell your friends, or even making love while sniffing wine, etc.
Once you have successfully programmed your olfactory system to be more sensitive and receptive of the fragrances in your life and to store them into your memories the way you would do with words or colors, you might be fortunate to pick out particular chemicals in the wine. The green bell pepper aroma of the Cabernet Sauvignon is contributed by pyrazines.
The fragrance of thiols is similar to cat pee, or grapefruit and other fruits. Terpenes provide Rieslings and Muscats with a floral aroma. Rotundone smell identical to popcorns. If your drink smell like vinegar, do not think twice and promptly send it back. Swishing your wine in the serving glass unleashes these chemicals while tilting the glass increases the surface area readily where you are supposed to place your nose.
Taste and flavor are entirely different things. Taste originates from specific molecules chemically interacting with the taste buds, while flavor means the combination of scent and taste. Flavor is indeed not just something created by smell and taste. It emerges from what people view, feel, and hear. Drinking wine must be a full-body experience.
While your tongue is not divided into a map as told by the kindergarten teacher; it is still very much capable of acknowledging sour-tasting acids, salts, sweet sugar molecules, brothy umami from amino acids, bitter chemicals found in various plants, the distinct taste that provides the shiitake mushrooms their unique character. You are also equipped with taste buds in your digestive tract, and even in the intestines, so that your body can anticipate all the things traveling through the pipeline before the digestion process begins.
To connect with your senses in totality and immerse in them in entirety; sip a little wine without swallowing it, do not position your head backward, open the mouth a little and suck a tiny amount of air while holding the liquor in the oral cavity. Be prepared to experience a gurgling sound (though not like a Listerine gurgle) that will promptly send a couple of the vaporescent chemicals into the tiny receptors behind the nose.
Now you have adequately tasted wine. If you seem to like it, swallow the drink and consume more. If you do not like it or do not want to drink it, spit the drink out. Spit with confidence, and you can even hire a coach for that.
Some folks have devoted their entire lives to tasting and smelling wines, and can instantly tell the type of grape it was obtained from, where it was made to grow and in what year only by sniffing, swirling, and tasting the drinks. They can tell about the alcohol content from observing how farthest down the throat the liquor starts to burn, higher proofs essentially mean an intense burning sensation. They can calculate the acid level of the alcohol from observing how much saliva can it make; more saliva translates to more acid. They can even correctly gauge the way a full-bodied wine is from the sugar and alcohol together, more of both of them is fuller. They can also measure the tannin concentration from watching whether the alcohol makes the gums feel rough. It is noteworthy to mention that dryness means the sweetness level of the wine, and not how much tannins the liquor has got. The more bitter it tastes, the drier it is called.
On the contrary, if some people tell you that the notes of their drink are pretty much like a finely crafted dress or the Burj Khalifa, be rest assured those are damn lies.
But nobody cares! You can enjoy the sensual pleasure and dive into this composite experience, the different notes combined altogether let you admire the wine.
Smells might conjure up images of specific places; for instance, a bonfire or playing in the lap of your granny. You might acknowledge aromas similar to these in your drink, or perhaps you will sniff something that the sommelier does not. It does not matter. It is your life and lives the way you wish to.
Once you sit in front of the wine, you might start smelling the thiols, pyrazines, and rotundones. Or you could smell grape juice. Whatever the case may it be, the most vital thing to consider is that you do like what you are sipping. If you love the taste of Carlo Rossi or Franzia, that is perfectly acceptable. If you want to go with an eighteen ninety-three vintage, that is fine too. You want to taste it again, and it is all that truly matters.