The best thing about studying wine is the moments that call into question every “truth” you think you know. These are the tiny lightbulbs that impel questions to be asked, that engender reflection and that ultimately serve as the springboard to a deeper understanding of wine. It is often the interaction of wine and food that delivers these teachable moments for me—when I am relaxed, not hurried, and free to ponder at will. This series of blog posts shares my memorable discoveries about what happens when wine meets food.
When my day is finished, my evening ritual is to make a cup of tea. I recently ran out of my favorite pre-made loose-leaf tea blend, and decided I’d stock up on the ingredients and put it together myself. Lavender is one of the components and I quickly realized the joy of unscrewing the jar lid to a burst of its lovely perfume…
The scent of lavender is ubiquitous. You can find it in soap, candles, sachets and even chocolate! Everybody knows what it smells like, right? I thought I did too, until I started smelling the real thing on a daily basis.
In the beginning, I regarded the agreeable waft of lavender as pleasing but not noteworthy—I simply didn’t think about it. But my subconscious mind was not so dismissive.
After a few weeks of mindlessly mixing my herbs, I stopped suddenly after opening the lavender jar and inhaled deeply. “Wow,” I thought to myself, “lavender smells way more herbaceous than I ever realized.” My next sniff took me past the nice floral top-notes and right into a mix of wild, green and even animal tones. Then I had an “aha” moment.
I consciously realized that I had smelled this mixture of aromas in red wines. This, not the simple, sweet floral scent of my dishwashing soap, was wine’s lavender.
Deciphering the multitude of aromas that can arise from a wine glass is difficult and it is a learned skill. Most people must work at it.
One of the best ways to hone these skills is to sniff your way through your spice cabinet. However, repetition is key. What you recognize on your hundredth sniff will be much different than what you gleaned on your first.
Sometimes in order to tune in, you must first, tune out.
Learn More About French and Italian Wines
- French Wine Scholar study & certification program
- Italian Wine Scholar study & certification program
If you wish to read more articles or listen to our podcasts about the following related topics, clic on these tags:
BY Kirra Barnes
Wine educator, writer and editorial assistant for the Wine Scholar Guild.
Other Blog Entries:
- 10 fabulous facts about Loire Valley wines Written on Monday, 26 August 2019 04:45
- Wine meets food: The spice cabinet toolbox Written on Sunday, 25 August 2019 10:11
- INTERVIEW: Rebecca Christophersen from Italian Wine Institute (Florence, Italy) Written on Tuesday, 13 August 2019 04:27
- Discover our newest study & certification program Written on Tuesday, 30 July 2019 05:12
- Spanish Wine Scholar™ program endorsed by Wines from Spain Written on Wednesday, 24 July 2019 07:50
- INTERVIEW: Jeni Wilson from Vintage Class (Aranda de Duero, Spain) Written on Thursday, 18 July 2019 08:17
- Wine meets food: Tomatoes and Sauvignon Blanc Written on Monday, 01 July 2019 10:19
- Best restaurants for your Bourgogne wine tour Written on Wednesday, 26 June 2019 08:47
- The Wines of Irpinia - Contemporary Excellence from an Ancient Territory Written on Monday, 24 June 2019 04:07
- PODCAST: Pascaline Lepeltier MS on the Loire, MOF, Pet-Nats & so much more! Written on Wednesday, 19 June 2019 09:31