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Wine Park

Nose, Swirl, Sip. Repeat!

Why is it important to swirl and nose a wine before tasting it?

You’ve definitely seen this done before. A bunch of folks sat tableside with freshly poured glasses of wine, stuffing their noses into the mould, swirling the wine and then poking their nose back in, taking a sip. Then, as if they were in a collective time loop, they repeat themselves. Ever wondered why they do it. Is it just a wine snob thing or is there solid logic to it? Well, while you will inevitably suffer wannabes who do it because they want to pass for the real deal, there is compelling reason for this three-step routine.

Wine, unlike spirits, has these few things to be done in the lead up. Uncork the wine at the right temperature, use only wine glasses and pour the wine a certain way and only pour so much. Then comes the moment of truth: the tasting. Stirring up a deliberate storm in the glass livens up the wine to release the wine’s aromas vital to expressing the wine fully. The wine contains (chemical compounds) which fully open up when exposed to oxygen. 

You see, the wine’s been bottled up for a long time with zero oxygen contact since oxidation over time spoils the wine. However, once in the glass, the wine can do with a little oxygen to truly express itself. Swirling the wine oxidates the wine, turning the esters into vapours that collect just above the surface of the wine and rise in the general direction of the nostril delivering a whopper of aromas. A rich concentration of flavours similarly follows when you then taste the wine.

Interestingly, it’s been redoubtably proven that if you like the wine on the nose, you will almost certainly like it on the palate. So be sure to first and without shyness, stick you nose into the glass to smell before a generous taste. And for good effect, when anyone curiously asks you about the logic of this purposeful ritual, tell them you are ‘volatising the esters’ (snob speak for opening up the wine). Be sure to use that line at the next party and gather some vinous cred. Boom.

Professor Plonk: Created by Antoine Lewis