Wednesday, September 16, 2015


As soon as one sniffs a wine the natural reaction is to taste it, but do this only after all questions concerning the nose have been addressed. The procedure is simple, although it may look and sound rather strange to the uninitiated. Take a good mouthful and draw air into the mouth through the wine; this makes a gurgling sound, but it is essential to do it in order to magnify the wine’s volatile characteristics in the back of the throat. The tongue itself reveals very little; sweetness is detected on its tip, sourness or acidity on the sides, bitterness at the back and top, and saltiness on the front and sides. Apart from these four
basic taste perceptions, we smell tastes rather than taste them. Any food or drink emits odorous vapors in the mouth that are automatically conveyed to the roof of the nasal passages. Here the olfactory bulb examines, discerns, and catalogs them—as they originate from the palate the natural inclination is to perceive them as tastes. For many of us it is difficult to believe that we taste with an organ located behind the eyes at the top of the nose, but when we eat ice cream too quickly, we painfully experience precisely where the olfactory bulb is, because the chilly aromas of the ice cream literally freeze this acutely delicate sensory organ. The texture of a wine also influences its taste; the prickly tactile sensation of carbon dioxide, for example, heightens our perception of acidity, while increased viscosity softens it.


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