Thursday, March 04, 2010

What the Hell is that smell?!

Whoa, it's been a while since I've posted anything, but I've been swamped with work and travelling a ton. Seven trade shows in 10 days in France, then the Big One, ViniSud, for 4 days, in Montpellier. To say I'm exhausted is putting it mildly.

The trips were fantastic, I mean, who can complain about being in the South of France in the middle of February? It was 65F and sunny while snow and cold were pounding New York and the East Coast. Oh, yeah, I can't complain about that.

However, one thing that really annoyed me (and still does), is the sheer amount of perfume worn by some folks at trade tastings. To say it's shameful is the understatement of the year. If you're in the business, you should be as odor-free (either BO or perfume) as possible. I mean, one of the singular pleasures of wine is smelling it slowly, watching it evolve as it sits in your glass. Yet when the person near me is seriously reeking, it can be somewhat distracting.

I dislike this when I'm at a social gathering, but it's excusable, not everyone's as intent on smelling their wines as I am. I get that. But at trade tastings, I mean, come on. Some of the culprits are the winemakers themselves, which always astonishes me. I was pouring at a tasting in NYC last month, and the winemaker standing next to me was reeking of perfume. I actually edged as far as possible as I could from him so that the trade buyers would be able to smell my wines and not his aromas. Shame on him!

A huge chunk of how we taste things, and wine in particular, is through the nose. Whether it's directly through the nostrils or through the back of the mouth and into the nasal cavity, your nose is doing most of the tasting. Yeah, the tongue's useful, but it's really your shnoz that's doing all the work. Why do you think you can't taste things when you've got a cold?

Next time you're drinking wine, try smelling it next to someone who's drenched in pungent perfume or who hasn't taken a shower in a few days. See how much you like the wine. Then go outside to get some air, or shove the offender out the nearest door, and get back to enjoying your glass.

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