I love tasting things.
Let me emphasize tasting for a moment. Our senses are amazing! Even just the fact that we can quickly (without thinking about it for a second) know if something is sweet versus tart, or even hot versus cold. However, we develop most of our taste recognition from our sense of smell. Don't believe me? Plug your nose the next time you try eating something (or taste something with a cold) – prepare for blandness.
Then again everything you taste might taste like mustard if you don't practice. Not that I don't like mustard or anything, but we are all wired to smell between 4,000 to 10,000 different types of odours. As we age, we also become desensitized to flavour – thus why so many people add progressively more salt to their meals. Granted you can avoid having the palate of a reptile by practicing often.
I haven't seen any iguanas enjoying a Shiraz as of late, but if you enjoy a glass of wine and want to get an optimal tasting, here are a few tips on how to make your tasting experience just that little bit more fun.
- Use a clean glass. We've said this before, but honestly there is no way you can give any wine a half a chance using a tool that impacts what you are trying to enjoy.
- Slow down and break down. You don’t necessarily need to come up with grand definitions of characters right off the bat. Does it smell good? Dark fruit? Red fruit? Sometimes saying something smells like a 17th century cigar box can be a bit pompous.
- Can't smell anything? Our noses will eventually tucker out after a while of smelling things (try inhaling cognac a few times, you'll see what I mean). One little trick I've learned is if you smell your arm you can sometimes reset things. Handy.
- Analyze food the way you might analyze wine. You might already do this, but once you really start to think about your food, your senses will be flexing their muscles big time – your food will likely reward you as well.
- What does stuff smell and taste like in the first place? Go sample a bunch of food that are common flavours found in wine (berries in particular) and take your time to examine their true identities. This can also be fun at dinner parties while drinking wine side by side.
Have any other handy tasting tips? Please feel free to share in the comments! 🙂
PS. I don't have anything against reptiles – they actually might have fantastic palates – I've always wanted to hang out with a chameleon. I wonder what that means.