Wine Tasting 101 – Part Two

Renowned Argentine sommelier, Marcelo Rebole, shares his passion and knowledge with a novice enthusiast about how to begin tasting and appreciating a glass of wine. The following is the second excerpt of his tutorial.

Sniffing the wine:
“The viewing part is finished. It is the less important part of the tasting. The most important part of the tasting is the nose sense. Only using your nose, you can detect 75-80% of the flaws in the wine. You need to sniff the wine by sticking your nose into the glass. It should sound like a New York bar in the 80’s. If you do it like this and you start to cough, it is because you are doing the right job. You don’t want to kill your nose, but you want to do it right. If you do this exercise and you smell rotten eggs, damp board, wet newspaper, or something disgusting, it is because the wine is sick, and you need to stop the tasting right there. If you smell alcohol, spices, and fruits, or something very appealing, it is because the wine is in very good shape. Tasting glasses are designed to enhance the errors of the wine, so if a wine can smell good here it is in very good shape.

And then we do the swirling. Circular movements—either on the table or in the air. When the swirling stops you will sniff again, and you will feel a different sensation: the alcohol is gone and you feel the backbone, the real aromatic structure of the wine.

You need to retrain your nose sense. If you practice, you get it. The nose has a lot of associative memory, because it is a very primal sense, so once you’ve identified one concept with an aroma, you will always remember it; and the next time you smell that, your mind will travel back to the time you first realized it.

With wine there is no right or wrong. Anything you perceive is your own expression, and no one can tell you you’re wrong. Maybe you cannot recognize or explain what you are sniffing, but it is okay because it is your own perception. The only thing that matters is if you like it or not. Once you get it, you will remember it forever. It’s easy. You need to practice”.

(Part One – Handling, Viewing the Wine)

(Part Three – Sipping the Wine)

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