20 February 2007

Smell Affects Taste

While we were touring wineries Saturday, we starting discussing what affects tastings. Flavors mix and mingle and part of the pleasure of serving wine is deciding the right food to serve it with for optimal enjoyment of both.

One winery served oyster crackers. These have no taste to me and so were a good palate cleanser.

Another winery served vanilla crackers which I avoided, because I think it biases the tasting and I wanted to taste the wine without the rounding/softening/masking vanilla can provide.

Another winery served garlic toast with their wines. Although it no doubt biased the tasting, I love garlic anything, so I went for it and enjoyed the wines quite a bit. I rationalized this by thinking that if I were serving the wine with something I made, it would likely have garlic in it.

We stopped at a place that had a chocolate fountain set up in the tasting room. This worked well for foks with kids who enjoyed dipping fruit and pretzels into it.

Although we didn't eat the chocolate, we wondered if the strong, sweet aroma was altering our perceptions of the taste of the wine...? Where chocolate is often paired with intense reds, it's unusual to pair it with whites and we were put off by the taste of the whites. We wondered if we would have had the same reaction to the whites--if we would have tasted them the same way-- if the chocolate fountain hadn't been wafting it's strong, sweet aroma. Dunno but it seems likely.

Think I'll open a bottle of wine tonight and run a test or two with some cheese.

For scientific purposes only, of course.

Yeah, for the greater good.


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