Take time to smell the wine

Reawaken senses with these wine sniffing tips

By Al Edenloff

After a long, cold, bleak winter, the arrival of spring reawakens your senses. Why not test your nose on a great glass of wine? After all, nearly as much emphasis is placed on a wine’s bouquet than as to how it tastes.
Granted, it can come across as pretentious to give a long monologue of the wine’s “nose,” such as the one delivered by Miles in the movie Sideways: “A little citrus. Maybe some strawberry. Mmm. Passion fruit, mmm, and, oh, there’s just like the faintest soupçon of like, uh, asparagus, and, there’s a, just a flutter of, like a, like a nutty Edam cheese.”
You don’t have to be stuffy about sniffing your wine. Have some fun with it. Here are some tips:

First, swirl wine in glass about 10 seconds so it mixes with the air and aromatic compounds are released and become more noticeable.
Quickly bring the glass to your nose. Don’t be shy. Stick your nose right into the glass and take a deep whiff. Some people have better luck taking several short, quick sniffs. Use whatever method works best. Keeping your mouth open a little as you smell the wine may also help.
Next, have some creative fun with what you’ve just experienced. Put in words the different scents you distinguished and start free associating.
Ask questions as you do this. Does the wine smell like dark berries, citrus, pineapple or some other kind of fruit? Are there any spicy notes like cinnamon? Are there any unusual aromas like leather, mushrooms or ash?
Sure, this can get over-the-top, but it can be fun to see just how descriptive you can be and whether your assessment matches others who are sniffing the same wine. Turn it into a game. Most wines list the bouquet characteristics on the label or on the winery’s website. See if any of their adjectives match what you noticed.
If they did, clink your glass, give a toast to spring and move on to the next (best) part: tasting the wine!

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