Hello, Dear Reader.
Can you close your eyes and describe how the air smells when it is raining? Does the air smell fresh and thick? Or does it smell like soil and earthworms? Or maybe just hot, thick and bad smelling?
Most of us can remember how the air smelled when it last rained and if we were happy or sad. Smell is a very powerful creator of memory since the olfactory bulb is part of the limbic system, which is closely associated with our memory and feelings. Depending where and how we grew up, we all associate different smells with something. We are conditioned to link a new smell to a happening, and since we meet most new smells when we are young, we keep this link with us trough our whole life.
I associate roses with my grandmother, she had the most wonderful smelly roses in every color. And lots of rain with smelly earthworms, since they get flooded when the soil gets wet from the rain and escapes up to the surface to try to survive. Even if I have smelled all kinds of rain, it sticks with me. A ripe, juicy warm tomato I associate with Milan and Italy, and if I close my eyes I see me sitting on a veranda under a sun umbrella eating the most wonderful tomato with basil and mozzarella in Milan. Mm, heaven on earth!
I love to smell everything I encounter, and when I worked with making wine, I was most happy when I could follow the fermenting juice to wine. It was the most powerful experience. It often overwhelmed me, and not all smells were pleasant. Far from it, and to have a very good sense of smell also include smelling very well “bad” smells, which is not so funny…
I like to smell people also, hush, don’t tell anyone. People smell so incredible different and if one can believe science reports on smell and choosing a partner, we are getting an incredible amount of information through a sniff. Even if we don’t think we take decisions based on smells, we do!
Smell can be used to bring up memories, and change our moods. When you are in a bad mood, smelling something you associate with a good happening, can change your mood. It can also be done the “other” way; I close my eyes and bring up pictures in my brain which I know has good smells associated with it. This changes my mood!
So smelling wine sometimes bring out a whole specter of moods, since wine is so complex and so full of different smells. Since people associate different smells and have different memories, one wine can be experienced very different from one person to another. This makes tasting wine very interesting, since people fight between what they smell and associate and what they are supposed to smell, since they are listening to others during the tasting and on the same time tries to link it to what the different grapes and wines are supposed to be smelling and tasting.
This makes the taste and liking of wine very individual, and makes it very hard to streamline taste…this should be remembered when you read critique of wines.
There are an abundance of wine out there and if you haven’t found your wine or taste yet, there is always a new wine or year or country you can taste. And if your day is dull, smell a good memory smell…
Have a good lunch,