“The scent of wine, oh how much more agreeable, laughing, praying, celestial and delicious it is than that of oil!” – François Rabelais (French Renaissance writer, doctor, and scholar)
As many of us learned in biology, our taste buds can detect certain primary tastes – sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness. And, today, there is the widely acknowledged fifth taste of umami (probably not something your fifth grade teacher Mrs. Castleman discussed). Our taste buds allow us to taste the addictive saltiness of buttered popcorn and soothing sweetness of Belgian chocolate, but it is through aromas that wine is tasted. We sniff our wine before drinking because this is how we “taste” the floral in Viognier, the mineral in Sauvignon Blanc, the earth in Cabernet Franc, and the fruit in Pinot Noir.
But when someone has on perfume, cologne, or strongly scented laundry or beauty products standing next to you in the tasting room it’s virtually impossible to recognize the subtle nuances of each varietal. Even your own favored synthetic fragrance is denying you full appreciation of the bouquet of each glass, and certainly denying the person next to you full enjoyment of their wine.
Synthetic fragrances are found in countless products today that end up on your body and under your nose – your soap, shampoo, deodorant, lotion, powder, and lipstick. Synthetically fragranced laundry detergents and dryer sheets are chemically designed to almost endlessly cling to your clothes, leaving you in a cloud of Hawaiian Aloha or maybe Floral Fusion. Ironically, air “fresheners” do not “freshen” the air at all; rather, they mask one odor with another, while diminishing your sense of smell with a nerve-deadening agent.
So much for a wine’s bouquet.
Try going fragrance-free and see if you don’t appreciate not only your wine more, but your life more as well. Look for products clearly marked as fragrance-free, and ditch the perfume before you go to dinner or to a wine tasting. Swirl your glass and inhale deeply. Without Donna Karan or Hugo Boss running interference, see how much more you enjoy what you’re tasting.
While we may not be French Renaissance writers, doctors, or scholars, just Hill Country wine lovers, we dare say that Monsieur Rabelais would not debate us if we amended his quote just a bit: “The scent of wine, oh how much more agreeable, laughing, praying, celestial and delicious it is than that of oil, perfume, dryer sheets, fabric softener, hairspray, and lotion.”
Learn more about enjoying wine and life to the fragrance-free fullest at http://fragrancestinks.com