tutti frutti

I'm bewilderd by tasting notes on dry red wines that sound like the taster is drinking Hawaiian punch. Fruit without sugar is very difficult for me to taste, however If i take a dry Cab. Sav. add some sugar and lemon juice to it and freeze it into a sherbert it tastes like pure grape juice with intense fruit flavor. I've eaten blueberries in Alaska that never developed sugar due to the short growing season,they had blueberry flavor but without sugar i can't say it was a desirable taste. I've even read Mike Jacksons notes on whiskey that he says taste like peaches and mango's I'm definately not able to taste fruit in whiskey. What can I do to sharpen up my tasting skills? Ok the blood is in the water,what's that I hear? It sounds like John Williams theme to Jaws . Help its Gruenha... aaakk.
Original Post
Hi Walt,

You're certainly not alone in trying to sharpen your tasting skills. Identifying wine aromas is probably the most difficult part of tasting.

First, let's agree on some terminology and take a peek at how your sniffer and taster work.

Aromas are sensed in your nasal passages. There are thousands of aromas; they include blueberry, mango, vanilla, oak and all those other scents.

Tastes are sensed by your tastebuds, which are mainly located on your tongue. There are only four tastes in wine: sweet, tart, bitter and umami.

Does the presence of sugar boost your ability to perceive fruit aromas? Hmmm... your brain could associate sweetness with ripe fruit and make you think that you're smelling fruit.

Recognition of aromas is based on two factors: the acuity of your senses and your odor memory.

The acuity of your senses is mostly genetically predetermined, so there's not a lot you can do to improve it. That said, you can turn up the volume on your senses by knowing how they work (the reason for the physiology lesson above) and how they react to various stimuli (i.e. sugars taste sweet and have a rich, cloying mouthfeel).

So, the area that you can improve is your odor memory; you need to train your brain to remember scents. Here are a couple suggestions:

1. Smell everything in your kitchen; fruits, vegetables, spices.

2. Compare the scents of various foods. Buy some berries (strawberry, blueberry and raspberry), put them into separate bowls and crush them to release their aromas. Sniff each bowl of fruit and see how they are different. After you've sniffed them a few times, try covering each bowl with a piece of paper and sniffing them blind so you have to identify each fruit.

3. Work out with other scent samples. You can buy aroma kits (which approximate a range of wine aromas) or you can create your own. You'll find recipes here:
http://www.winespectatorschool.com/wineschool/library/howTo/0,2125,,00.html

4. Refer to tasting notes as you taste wine. A number of wineries and wine stores supply tasting notes online; you can also get tasting notes from Wine Spectator.

Hope that helps, Walt. ??

Anyone else on the board have suggestions for improving odor memory?
It's all about the tongue, Walt, and yours is just not sharp enough. You've got one of those fancy knife sharpeners, like Wusthof? Applying gentle, but even pressure, slowly sharpen the sides of your tongue - these areas are loaded with tutti frutti sensors, they just need to be exposed a little. Try that first and let me now how it goes.

Next lesson - "Honing and general sharpness maintanence".
well said The Schoolmarm,

i could only add:

walt,
the aroma has nothing to do with sugar!
you have to distinguish the mouthfeeling:
-sweet, -sour, salty, bitter, -hot
and -drying out, -velvet, -grip ....
or the aroma/taste:
all that you personally can distinguish, aroma-professional at givaudan reconizes several thousand aromas, normal people maybe only hundert.

i personally don't like those aromakids because
they smell quite diffrent to the real.

riedel sells a black-riesling glass, let youre partner do something into the glass, and try only by nose to reconize.
as it is always in life "from nothing comes nothing". so, if you exercise twice a week, after years you will get on peak.

a side note:
it hasn't only good sides, have a good nose and know several aromas and if they are natural or natural-identic, it will makes you (as i) fear
from going to eat in gastronomy, walk behind people using parfum/cologne, been in locals witch are be-fragranced, and the "normal" people
do not understand you if you tell them how you feel like when you smell.

sometimes walking i have to change street side to refuge from the pain of someonce deodorant, or smoke. somtimes in rooms i get headache, worst in cars with those "tree's". i really hate
industrial-food, not only because i know ingrediance but for it's taste.
an so on.
quote:
Originally posted by The Schoolmarm:
Hi Walt,

You're certainly not alone in trying to sharpen your tasting skills. Identifying wine aromas is probably the most difficult part of tasting.

First, let's agree on some terminology and take a peek at how your sniffer and taster work.

Aromas are sensed in your nasal passages. There are thousands of aromas; they include blueberry, mango, vanilla, oak and all those other scents.

Tastes are sensed by your tastebuds, which are mainly located on your tongue. There are only four tastes in wine: sweet, tart, bitter and umami.

Does the presence of sugar boost your ability to perceive fruit aromas? Hmmm... your brain could associate sweetness with ripe fruit and make you think that you're smelling fruit.

Recognition of aromas is based on two factors: the acuity of your senses and your odor memory.

The acuity of your senses is mostly genetically predetermined, so there's not a lot you can do to improve it. That said, you can turn up the volume on your senses by knowing how they work (the reason for the physiology lesson above) and how they react to various stimuli (i.e. sugars taste sweet and have a rich, cloying mouthfeel).

So, the area that you can improve is your odor memory; you need to train your brain to remember scents. Here are a couple suggestions:

1. Smell everything in your kitchen; fruits, vegetables, spices.

2. Compare the scents of various foods. Buy some berries (strawberry, blueberry and raspberry), put them into separate bowls and crush them to release their aromas. Sniff each bowl of fruit and see how they are different. After you've sniffed them a few times, try covering each bowl with a piece of paper and sniffing them blind so you have to identify each fruit.

3. Work out with other scent samples. You can buy aroma kits (which approximate a range of wine aromas) or you can create your own. You'll find recipes here:
http://www.winespectatorschool.com/wineschool/library/howTo/0,2125,,00.html

4. Refer to tasting notes as you taste wine. A number of wineries and wine stores supply tasting notes online; you can also get tasting notes from Wine Spectator.

Hope that helps, Walt. ??

Anyone else on the board have suggestions for improving odor memory?
Thanks. I have only been able to taste the 4 tastes in wine because thats all there are. I was under the mistaken impression that people could taste fruit in wine when they are really discribing aromas. I don't have any problem detecting aromas in food I've been a cook for 30 years and i have vivid memories of all the fruit that came off the trees or vines where i grew up in PA. I'm just having trouble detecting those aromas in wine.Vanilla bean is a very powerful aroma but iv'e never detected in in wine even though chemical analisis indicate it's presence in oaked chards.If i put a vanilla bean in a 5 pound bag of sugar I can smell the vanilla in the sugar ,no problem. I'm goin to try ageing some red wine as, a brick red wine seems to have much more aroma than the purple kind to me.
quote:
Originally posted by grunhauser:
It's all about the tongue, Walt, and yours is just not sharp enough. You've got one of those fancy knife sharpeners, like Wusthof? Applying gentle, but even pressure, slowly sharpen the sides of your tongue - these areas are loaded with tutti frutti sensors, they just need to be exposed a little. Try that first and let me now how it goes.

Next lesson - "Honing and general sharpness maintanence".
I just use a belt sander.
What Gloria said is great advice to identify the different fruits in a wine. But also try a “flight” of wines. These can be either from the same varietal or distinctly different ones. If they are of the same varietal, try to get wines of a similar age but from very different regions. An example would be to get Pinot Noir’s from California, Oregon and Burgundy - you will be amazed at the differences and this will help you identify the fruit components in this varietal.

When you read a critics review of a wine, just remember that what he is describing is often the flavors and nuances that separate it or distinguish it from the other wines of the same varietal.
There are several ways to improve the aromas a wine gives off.

The first is not to serve it too cold, especially whites.

You can use a capped tasting glass, which traps the aromas in the glass. Another, less refined, way of achieving this effect is to put the flat of your hand over the glass and shaking the buggery out of it.

Thirdly is the techniques of sucking air in whilst you hold the wine in your mouth. The aim is to get the aromas percolating in your sinus cavities. This does improve the perception of aromas, but is not a technique I recommend if you're taking that someone special out on a date.
quote:
Originally posted by wineismylife:
Inappropriate.


What's appropriate in a "tutti frutti" post, Joe? Brown-nosing the substitute teacher? Roll Eyes

Schoolmarm said nothing new, leaving her second student more confused than enlightened. (no offense, Walter) Look at him here, the man knows what he is talking about and he knows you guys fork out made up tasting notes that have more to do with your sweet childhood memories than the actual wine.

Good point, Walt.
walt,

maybe you allready do this (i write this only to make shure you are on the right path):

maybe you should change youre approach. do not search a sertain aroma in wines,
you should try to speak out what you find in the wine you have in youre glas.
walt,
are you still working! (cooking) i think they left one thing out.burning the tongue.
most of the people here work in the front of the house. give it time. iam 52 and started cooking at 14. and my buds are just starting to pick things out better. an on top of that wines are changing. they are makeing them with more fruit then ever.
oh i retired 4 years ago. and that has helped ,but do all the cooking home.(stay at home dad now with twinns a even tougher job)
the training part is the hardest.
quote:
Originally posted by grunhauser:
quote:
Originally posted by wineismylife:
Inappropriate.


What's appropriate in a "tutti frutti" post, Joe? Brown-nosing the substitute teacher? Roll Eyes

Schoolmarm said nothing new, leaving her second student more confused than enlightened. (no offense, Walter) Look at him here, the man knows what he is talking about and he knows you guys fork out made up tasting notes that have more to do with your sweet childhood memories than the actual wine.

Good point, Walt.


I thought your post was inappropriate.
Good point, GreenDrazi. Whenever possible, I try to taste at least two wines side by side; the comparison helps point out the features of each wine. I usually ask the retailer or barkeep to suggest a pair of wines that will be interesting to taste side-by-side.

And thanks for the additional info, Pauly. Pulling air in through the wine in your mouth or swishing the wine around in your mouth is the same as swirling the wine around in your glass; both actions release scents from the liquid into the air so you can smell them. Geek Warning: the techno term for releasing the scents is "volatilizing the esters."

Tsunami suggested changing the approach and not looking for specific aromas and just speaking about what you find in your glass. Another good point. I'll take it even further and suggest that you simply sniff and sip and swish the wine without even trying to say anything about it. It really helps to get an overall impression of the wine first, before you start describing it.

Tsunami also mentioned aroma kits. On the few occasions that I've used them, they seem to help some people and not others. It is true that the aromas only approximate the scents found in wine. But then it's also true that the scents in wine only approximate the scents found in foods; they are usually not exactly the same. Besides, foods vary too; if you sampled four bananas side-by-side, they could each be quite different with one being riper and sweeter and more aromatic and another more delicate, greener scents.

And wineismylife, thank you for the thumbs-up. I am earnest about creating a forum where people can enjoy learning about wine.
quote:
Originally posted by The Schoolmarm:

Tastes are sensed by your tastebuds, which are mainly located on your tongue. There are only four tastes in wine: sweet, tart, bitter and umami.



I hate to be the one to correct, but there are four - sweet, sour, bitter and salty. Then there is fifth - the magical and elusive umami.

Have you experienced the umami taste? And most importantly, is umami present in wines?
quote:
Originally posted by VinoMiko:
quote:
Originally posted by tsunami:
let youre partner do something into the glass, and try only by nose to reconize.


Tsunami you are the best! Big Grin Big Grin

Jason
I was cackling with glee when i read this, but showed great restraint by not responding.Maby this exersize would help me truely understand Umami.
you are correct, grunhauser: salty is another taste. i tend to not mention it with wine because, although there is some salt in wine (mainly in the form of potassium), it is present in such low concentrations that it is undetectable as a taste. some sensory scientists think the miniscule amounts of salt might turn up the volume on wine's aromas and flavors, as it does with other foods.

as for umami, the most straightforward way i've found to experience it is to put a drop of soy sauce on my tongue. it's got a savory, brothy taste and a rich, silky mouthfeel. you can also sense umami in sauteed mushrooms and MSG. in wine, you're mostly likely to find umami in mature reds.

...and scientists say that umami is definitely a taste; they've identified umami taste receptors in the old taste buds. thanks for the link, Purple Teeth.
Thanks for answering my question Schoolmarm.The flavor of some of the responses to you were a bit salty and that is not always a pleasent thing to bear. I'm relived to discover that I have not been slurping my wine but, volotizing the esters. I'll give the side by side comparo a try. I'm afraid Gruenhauser has sniffed out my sceptisism of wine critics that gush about intense fruit in wine like they just took a swig of fresh pressed cherry cider. Naturally i don't want to doubt my own ability to taste and smell so I become cynical about sensational tasting notes. However I am not compleatly taken by the "Dark Side" and have a glimmer of hope that compels me to continue to try and sniff out those elusive subtle nuances in wine. I had some Kobe beef sushi today and i wouldn't be suprized if there was some umami in there somewhere.
quote:
Originally posted by bez780:
walt,
are you still working! (cooking) i think they left one thing out.burning the tongue.
most of the people here work in the front of the house. give it time. iam 52 and started cooking at 14. and my buds are just starting to pick things out better. an on top of that wines are changing. they are makeing them with more fruit then ever.
oh i retired 4 years ago. and that has helped ,but do all the cooking home.(stay at home dad now with twinns a even tougher job)
the training part is the hardest.
I'm still cooking for a living and burning my forarms occasionally but not my tongue,allthough I'm trying to bite it more often and stay out of trouble.
so no hair on your hands!
do you work the line ?
i have a saying can you trust a skinny cook?
walt , most of these people do it like you cook all day or night! and that it their job. time and looking for taste and smells mouth fells. tasteing and talking to other really help me. offline are great!
i has at ridge last weekend in somona (lytton springs)we had a really great person pouring for us we taste and talk about the wine and if she had a problem ,she would taste it tothen talk about it.she was very helpfull. pride was good too!at Gwilliams
the owners winemaker were right there anwsering everthing. learning. go to tasteing talk ! i can go on an on like the people at Xwinery geoff and the wine maker
great people. willing to share!

Wink
quote:
Originally posted by bez780:
so no hair on your hands!
... i can go on an on like the people at Xwinery geoff and the wine maker
great people. willing to share!

Wink


I had no hair on my hands until I met Geoff from X Winery. Now, thanks Geoff for sharing, I'm looking forward to some ice fishing with my (not so) bare hands come this winter.
Thanks again, Geoff and Jen!! Cool Smile
we were at riedel, in kufstein, they have 2 stores there (one with 1 and second quality, one with 3 quality and selling out items)
in the first store there is a bar, were it's served tee, and coffee specialties and on this bar were in line 10 black riesling glasses with a cover on top.
in this riesling glasses were (if i remember it corectly) valrona chocolat, cinamon, a piece leather, vanilla, strawberry jam, pepper, cloves, huckleberry sirup, .....
my girlfriend identificate them ALL only by sniff at the glass with closed eyes!

this is what happens with some exercice,
and there is nothing to cackling.
Fantastic olfactory account, Tsunami. Your girlfriend seems to be quite well trained. Eek
(I have several jokes on this theme floating in my head, but I value you contribution too much and will not risk offending you in any way Smile )



There are plenty of exercises members of our cult can enjoy. Have you ever walked into someone's building and remarked on the Rioja scented carpets? I'm not suggesting someone was actually highly enthusiastic about newly released vintage of Rioja with dramatic consequences on the carpet, but the spice and orange zest that are cutting through layers of dragged in dirt, domestic dust and other ungodly crap.
quote:
Originally posted by tsunami:
we were at riedel, in kufstein, they have 2 stores there (one with 1 and second quality, one with 3 quality and selling out items)
in the first store there is a bar, were it's served tee, and coffee specialties and on this bar were in line 10 black riesling glasses with a cover on top.
in this riesling glasses were (if i remember it corectly) valrona chocolat, cinamon, a piece leather, vanilla, strawberry jam, pepper, cloves, huckleberry sirup, .....
my girlfriend identificate them ALL only by sniff at the glass with closed eyes!

this is what happens with some exercice,
and there is nothing to cackling.
I understand what your saying, and i'm not triing to bust your balls ,but the way it came out in translation was very funny. English is a very difficult language. I'm a native speaker and it's obvious that I struggle with it. I respect you and anyone that that has a second language,I don't.You made an excellent joke inadvertantly and thats a good thing.
did i made a joke?

hmmmmmm Big Grin

i have to improve my english Razz

btw, english is the 4th language i learned not the second, italian is my motherlanguage, german in school and today my best, french 6 years at school but i'm loosing it, english a 30 hours beginner course at buissnes-school.

but anyway, if i made a joke even i didn't wanted to do it it's funny Big Grin Big Grin
quote:
Originally posted by tsunami:


i have to improve my english Razz

btw, english is the 4th language i learned not the second


I struggle in it too! Let's we work and create new much with improvements the sofisticated foreign Engrich. Easy to communicate it to foreigners and other people to, like for tourist group - basics words and easy commands for situationals in travel. Like word "Stop!", or another word link "Who is your Father?!". My favorite word combination in Amerika was "Push button..". I forget what is happens when you obey this commandment.

Do you have considerered more other language studiment for any chance?
quote:
Originally posted by wineismylife:
Is there any way we can ban grunhauser and all of his alternate egos from this section?


Joe, take that broom out of your arse, will you...

The sad thing is, you are a likeable guy. Too bad your head is competing with the broom.
quote:
Originally posted by Walt:
We could make him drink hemlock.


280 to 220.

I'm not feeling my legs. The chill sensation raises up to my waist now...What are we going to do? All the smells and sounds...
Unable to tyyyyyyyyyyyyype..any morrrrrrrrrrrrtttttttt


Is there el manana?

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