The sensory analysis of wine is the most difficult phase of the whole tasting, because we face with the most difficult obstacle to overcome: the identification of the smell shades.
The olfactory analysis is the second phase of the tasting (after the visual exam) and it is useful to discover all about wine scents that includes all the existent perfumes you can find in nature. It is fundamental to verify that there are no defects (smells and tastes of cork, mold, dregs, sulphur dioxide…) which indicate a negative change of the wine due to external agents; the olfactory analysis is useful to appreciate the evolution features and the scent quality.
To learn how to recognize the aromas of wine, the first step is to reactivate the sense of smell, trying to memorise everything you sniff at, to build a database, in this case, which identifies to the multiple nuances smells of wines.
Fresh or dried flowers, fruits, jam, pot herbs, spices, leather, enamels and waxes, petroleum derivatives and medicines: it may sounds strange, but you can find the perfumes of all this things in a glass of wine.
On sale there are briefcases including dozens of small bottles of essences, which can be of help to play a little with perfumes, to sniff unknown ones for the first time and to find confirmation of those already known.
The second step to learn how to recognise perfumes is that of taste a large number of wines, trying to distinguish single scents, which will become more familiar with the passing of time.
Phases of the olfactory analysis
The olfactory analysis is the most complicated phase of the tasting, it does not require particular techniques, but it is very difficult to recognise the wine scents.
- Smell the wine: take the glass at the base to avoid the contamination with the odours of your hands. Bring the glass near to the nose and inspire intensely. In this way you can have a general idea about the intensity and the evolution of the wine.
- Swirl the glass: turn the glass away from your nose and rotate slowly a few times. The wine rises along the wall of the glass creating an internal funnel that increases the surface in contact with the air and favours the release of odorous substances.
- Subsequent rotations: rotate the glass more energetically and bring it repeatedly to the nose, at short intervals, so as not to become accustomed to the aromas.
- Subsequent inspirations: bring the glass closer to the nose and inhales deeply, for a few seconds. The inspirations must be deep, alternating between the right and left nostrils, to further diminish the addiction. In this phase, which is the conclusive one, we evaluate the complexity of the perfume and its quality.