Wine tasters often swirl wine and apply its scent to the senses before actually taking a sip of the wine. Unlike other drinks, wine possesses qualities to make it appealing to more than one sensory organ. The nose picks up on the wine’s palatability well before the wine crosses the taste buds. The aroma is also among the many reasons that certain wines work better with certain foods. Aroma in pairing is as important as taste, according to wine connoisseurs.
Natural Aroma in Wine
How do winemakers make the most of aromas? The aroma comes from the grape variety, the climate in which the grape is grown, the sun exposure and the soil type in the vineyard. Most of these aspects can be controlled by the wine maker. Additionally, different types of wine making techniques will affect the aroma. Fermentation temperature will affect aroma; cooler fermentation temperatures will produce stronger aromas and is typically used on blush or white wines. The picking time also affects aroma; earlier picked grapes will result in greener grapes, which produces a different aroma than grapes picked later in the season.
Wine Aromas Paired with Food
Wine connoisseurs will close their eyes when smelling a wine to eliminate the other senses. While there are basic rules to pairing wine and food, some individuals prefer to use smell to find out what might work best. Smell the wine then smell the food; do they smell good together? They will probably taste good together. Use this basic outline to be sure of pairings for guests or those who may not be as up to par on wine/food matches:
- Serve rose wines with hors d’oeuvres
- Serve unoaked whites with dishes paired with citrus, such as a lemon pepper fish or chicken
- Use a lower-alcohol wine with spicy foods
- Red meats are always paired with tannic red wines
- Pair wine with sauce for lighter meats, such as pork. For example, a white water-based sauce is paired best with a white wine.
- Light wines match desserts brilliantly.
Learn to Let the Nose Speak
A great aroma testing exercise is to use a blindfold. This way, there is no temptation to peek. As humans, we “eat with our eyes” first; training to be an aroma expert means eliminating this basic rule. Pour a number of wines then use a blindfold for each one. Try to determine the type of wine from the smell alone. This will help identify favorites, and will help in pairing wine with food. The sense of smell is directly related to the sense of taste, and so training the nose to speak first will allow for better wine selection.There is a lot to learn in wine selection; aroma and wine is only the beginning. It is so important, however, that it needs its own category and explanation. Allow the nose to do the initial searching when looking for a wine, and the best wine will come forth every time. Ask questions about the wine production and processing to learn which wine will produce the best aroma for every meal need.