Barry started off by reminding us of our main senses:
But there are many others………and they all interact.
Of these, the tongue contributes our sense of
Hence the importance of smell, which actually informs our perception of flavour. And there are two types of smelling – orthonasal and retronasal olfaction.
We smell when we breathe – and when we eat and drink.
Sometimes the two conflict with eachother, a mismatch – we often say “it tastes better than it smells” or vice-versa.
Contrary to what I had been trained to believe, swallowing does make a difference to tasting – it pulses odours up to the nose. Try it!
Barry also mentioned the importance of the trigeminal nerve which feeds messages to the eyes, nose and mouth. This provides the sense that recoils at mustard, wasabi or chilli. Bubbles are trigeminal stimulants. CO2 suppresses sweetness and stimulates sourness.
He summarised neatly: aftertaste is really aftersmell.
We tasted the following wines
Wines 1 and 2
Contrasting aroma and palate
Riesling Sekt 2014 – Reichsrat von Buhl, Pfalz
Riesling Sekt 2005 Reserve – Sekthaus Solter, Rheingau
Wine 3 – Rosé – tasted blind from an opaque glass
Pinot Noir Rosé 2015 – Meyer Näkel, Ahr
For me, it smelt red and tasted white!
Wines 4 and 5
Texture. If you give people a fabric to stroke while tasting a wine, it will influence whether the perception is silky, satin……or velcro! So especially relevant to wines with tannins.
Pinot Noir 2013 – Shelter, Baden
Lemberger 2012 – Simonroth Schnaitmann, Württemberg
Wines 6 and 7
Complexity – influence of blend, oak, maturity
Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot Assemblage 2013 – Frey, Rheinhessen
Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Lemberger/Spätburgunder 2012 – Cuvée Bercher, Baden
Wines 8 and 9
Intensity of aroma
Complementary characteristics – bitter sweet, NOT bitter sour!
And influence of sound on taste.
Base notes bring out bitterness.
High notes bring out sweetness.
On an aircraft, white noise reduces sensitivity to sweet, sour, salty, bitter by 15%. But NOT umami. Therefore drink tomato juice in the air. Or use noise cancelling earphones!
Riesling Trocken 2014 – Lubentiushof Gäns, Mosel
Riesling Kabinett 2014 – Lubentiushof Gäns, Mosel
Wines 10 and 11
Minerality – perceptions differ, but many accept that we smell minerality and taste salinity. Anne Krebiehl MW pointed out that one common aspect of ALL wines called mineral is highish acidity.
In this pair, same wine different vintages, the different aromas influence our perception of sweetness and fulness in the wine.
Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 2014 – Prüm, Mosel
Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 2009 – Prüm, Mosel