Thursday, October 30, 2008

Heavy Metals in the Wine? Probably but who cares?

I found a very interesting story today on research done in the UK saying that European wines have a high concentration of heavy metals that are dangerous for you. The article of that story can be found here. What makes it most interesting was that it was picked up by all of the wine newsletters I get.

Really, I just can't imagine that whatever they found (if they found anything!) is really dangerous. We are in a world where we are told that simply breathing may cause your lungs to shrivel up and kill you. Consumers have been drinking European wines in the US for a long time, speeded up by the French Paradox. If years and years of drinking these wines has not given anyone heavy metal poisoning yet, I think we'll be ok. A while ago I remember reading an article on trace chemicals being found in the water supplies of major metropolitan cities (and we're talking good stuff like anti-depressents and muscle relaxants in New York and sex enhancement drugs in San Francisco). As far as I can tell that news was met with the equivalent of a big shrug by the average American.

This definitely will not have the slightest effect on my wine purchasing decisions. Although I must say that Slovakia, Macedonia and Serbia are still not high on my list of wines to explore.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wines tasted on October 29th, 2008

Pinot Noir

1) Fleur de California Pinot Noir 2006, 13.5% ALC., Carneros, California, USA

2) Joseph Drouhin Cote de Beaune-Villages 2005, 13% ALC., AOC Cote de Beaune-Villages, Cote D’Or, Burgundy, France

3) Baden Biengener Maltesergarten Pinot Noir 2003, QmP Troken Auslese, Markgraflerland, Germany


4) Sterling Vineyards Merlot 2004, 13.5% ALC, Napa Valley, California, USA

5) Chateau Beaumont Cru Bourgeois Supérieur 2005, 13.5 ALC, (51% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot), Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France

6) Chateau Haut-Surget Lalande de Pomerol 2005, 13% ALC, AOC Lalande-de-Pomerol, Bordeaux, France


Merlot ('MERL-oh' in British English, mer-LOH in American English and standard French) is a red wine grape that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines. Merlot-based wines usually have medium body with hints of berry, plum, and currant. Its softness and "fleshiness", combined with its earlier ripening, makes Merlot a popular grape for blending with the sterner, later-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon, which tends to be higher in tannin. Merlot is also one of the most popular red wine varietals in many markets. This flexibility has helped to make it one of the world's most planted grape varieties. As of 2004, Merlot was estimated to be the third most grown variety at 260,000 hectares (640,000 acres) globally, with an increasing trend. This put Merlot just behind Cabernet Sauvignon's 262,000 hectares (650,000 acres).

The earliest recorded mention of Merlot was in the notes of a local Bordeaux official who in 1784 labeled wine made from the grape in the Libournais region as one of the area's best. The name comes from the French regional patois word "merlot", which means "young blackbird" ("merle" is the French word for several kinds of thrushes, including blackbirds); the naming came either because of the grape's beautiful dark-blue color, or due to blackbirds' fondness for grapes. By the 19th century it was being regularly planted in the Médoc on the "Left Bank" of the Gironde.

It was first recorded in Italy around Venice under the synonym Bordò in 1855. The grape was introduced to the Swiss, from Bordeaux, sometime in the 19th century and was recorded in the Swiss canton of Ticino between 1905 and 1910.

Researchers at University of California, Davis believe that the grape is an offspring of Cabernet Franc and is a sibling of Carménère.

Until 1993, the Chilean wine industry mistakenly sold a large quantity of wine made from the Carmenere grape as Merlot. In that year, genetic studies discovered that much of what had been grown as Merlot was actually Carmenere, an old French variety that had gone largely extinct in France due to its poor resistance to phylloxera, which as of 2006 does not exist in Chile.

The labeling Chilean Merlot is a catch-all to include wine that is made from a blend of indiscriminate amounts of Merlot and Carmenere. With Merlot ripening 3 weeks earlier than Carmenere, these wines differ greatly in quality depending on harvesting.

Merlot is produced primarily in France, Italy (where it is the country's 5th most planted grape) and California, Romania and on a lesser scale in Australia, Argentina, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, Croatia, Hungary, Montenegro, Slovenia, and other parts of the United States such as Washington and Long Island. It grows in many regions that also grow Cabernet Sauvignon but tends to be cultivated in the cooler portions of those areas. In areas that are too warm, Merlot will ripen too early.


Merlot is the most commonly grown grape variety in France. In 2004, total French plantations stood at 115,000 hectares (280,000 acres). Merlot's status as France's most planted variety is a recent phenomenon, from the early 2000s, owing both to the increase of Merlot and the decline of varieties such as Carignan and Ugni blanc. Plantations of Merlot in Bordeaux have expanded, as previous white wine areas have been converted to the production of Merlot-dominated red wines. The largest increase in Merlot plantations, however, has occurred in the south of France, such as Languedoc-Roussillon. Merlot, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah have partially replaced the previously popular varieties of the south such as Carignan and Cinsault.
In the traditional Bordeaux blend, Merlot's role is to add body and softness. Despite accounting for 50-60% of overall plantings in Bordeaux, the grape tends to account for an average of 25% of the blends-especially in the Graves and Médoc. However, in the regions of Pomerol and Saint-Emilion Merlot commonly comprises the majority of the blend. One of the most famous and rare wines in the world, Château Pétrus, is almost all Merlot.

Rest of Europe

In Italy, the Merlot grape is often blended with Sangiovese to give the wine a similar softening effect as the Bordeaux blends. The Strada del Merlot is a popular tourist route through Merlot wine countries along the Isonzo river.
In Hungary, Merlot complements Kékfrankos, Kékoportó and Kadarka as a component in Bull's Blood. It is also made into varietal wine known as Egri Médoc Noir which is noted for its balanced acid levels and sweet taste.

Pinot Noir

Pinot noir (IPA: [']) is a red wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera. The name may also refer to wines produced predominantly from Pinot noir grapes. The name is derived from the french words for "pine" and "black" alluding to the varietals' tightly clustered dark purple pine cone-shaped bunches of fruit.

Pinot noir grapes are grown around the world, mostly in the cooler regions, but the grape is chiefly associated with the Burgundy region of France. It is widely considered to produce some of the finest wines in the world, but is a difficult variety to cultivate and transform into wine.

Pinot noir thrives in France's Burgundy region, particularly on the Côte-d'Or which has produced some of the world's most celebrated wines for centuries. It is also planted in Austria, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, the Republic of Georgia, Germany, Hungary, the Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, New Zealand, South Africa and Switzerland. The United States has increasingly become a major Pinot noir producer, with some of the best regarded coming from the Willamette Valley in Oregon; California's Sonoma County with its Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast appellations, as well as the Central Coast's Santa Lucia Highlands appellation and the Sta. Rita Hills American Viticultural Area in Santa Barbara County. In New Zealand, it is grown in Martinborough, Waipara, and Central Otago.

The leaves of Pinot noir are generally smaller than those of Cabernet Sauvignon, but larger than those of Syrah. The grape cluster is small and cylindrical, vaguely shaped like a pine cone. Some viticultural historians believe this shape may have given rise to the name. Pinot noir tends to produce narrow trunks and branches. In the vineyard it is sensitive to light exposure, cropping levels (it must be low yielding), soil types and pruning techniques. In the winery it is sensitive to fermentation methods, yeast strains and is highly reflective of its terroir with different regions producing very different wines. Its thin skin makes it highly susceptible to bunch rot and other fungal diseases. The vines themselves are prone to downy mildew, leaf roll, and fanleaf. These complications have given the grape the reputation of being difficult to grow: Jancis Robinson calls Pinot a "minx of a vine" and André Tchelistcheff declared that "God made Cabernet Sauvignon whereas the devil made Pinot noir."

However, Pinot wines are among the most popular in the world. Joel Fleischman of Vanity Fair describes Pinot noir as "the most romantic of wines, with so voluptuous a perfume, so sweet an edge, and so powerful a punch that, like falling in love, they make the blood run hot and the soul wax embarrassingly poetic." Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon calls pinot "sex in a glass". Peter Richardsson of OenoStyle christened it "a seductive yet fickle mistress!"

The tremendously broad range of bouquets, flavors, textures and impressions that Pinot noir can produce sometimes confuses tasters. In the broadest terms, the wine tends to be of light to medium body with an aroma reminiscent of black cherry, raspberry or currant. Traditional red Burgundy is famous for its fleshy, 'farmyard' aromas, but changing fashions and new easier-to-grow clones have favoured a lighter, fruitier style. The grape's color when young, often compared to that of garnet, is often much lighter than that of other red wines. However, an emerging style from California and New Zealand highlights a more powerful, fruit forward and darker wine that can approach syrah in depth.

It is also used in the production of Champagne (usually along with Chardonnay and Pinot meunier) and is planted in most of the world's wine growing regions for use in both still and sparkling wines. Pinot noir grown for dry table wines is generally low-yielding and often difficult to grow well. Pinot noir grown for use in sparkling wines (e.g. Champagne) is generally higher yielding.

In addition to being used for the production of sparkling and still red wine, Pinot noir is also sometimes used for rosé still wines, and even vin gris white wines.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wines tasted on October 22nd, 2008


1) Graff Hardegg Riesling Vom Schloss 2006, 13% ALC., Qualitätswein Trocken, Niederösterreich, Austria

2) René Muré Riesling Vorbourg 2004, 13.5% ALC., AOC Alsace Grand Cru, Alsace, France

3) Markus Molitor Riesling Zeltinger Sonnenuhr 2005, 7.5% ALC., QmP Spätlese, Mosel – Saar – Ruwer, Germany


4) Jean-Marc Brocard Domaine Sainte Claire Petit Chablis 2007, 12% ALC., AOC Petit-Chablis, France

5) FoxGlove Chardonnay 2007, 13.8% ALC., San Luis Obispo County, California, USA

6) Rodney Strong Chardonnay 2007, 13.8% ALC., Sonoma County, California, USA

My Review:

1) I liked this wine. It was light with a balanced citrus vs fruit taste. Very refreshing and really wanted some food.

2)This wine was deeper and rounder than the first. Still nice, but the age might have been showing. Still good notes of peach and green apple with a little bit of smoke.

3)Interesting nose! Garlic maybe with some petrol. and sugar. Honeysuckle and nectars with sugared fruits. Not for me.

4)Unoaked Chardonnay, definitely my favorite of the three. Bright acidity with pure apple and pear notes. Just what a Chardonnay should be.

5)We've moved to California and they need to put oak. They just can't help themselves. Not too bad though, still had some fruit to it.

6)and OAK! the pure California Chardonnay. Really what I was hoping to show people and just what most people are drinking. Definitely not for me.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used to make white wine. It is believed to have originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France but is now grown wherever wine is produced, from England to New Zealand. For new and developing wine regions, growing Chardonnay is seen as a "rite of passage" and an easy segue into the international wine market.

The Chardonnay grape itself is very neutral, with many of the flavors commonly associated with the grape being derived from such influences as terroir and oak. It is vinified in many different styles, from the elegant, "flinty" wines of Chablis to rich, buttery Meursaults and New World wines with tropical fruit flavors.

Chardonnay is an important component of many sparkling wines around the world, including Champagne. A peak in popularity in the late 1980s gave way to a backlash among those wine drinkers who saw the grape as a leading negative component of the globalization of wine. Nonetheless, it remains one of the most widely-planted grape varieties, with over 400,000 acres (175,000 hectares) worldwide, second only to Airén among white wine grapes and planted in more wine regions than any other grape – including Cabernet Sauvignon.

For much of its history, a connection was assumed between Chardonnay and Pinot noir or Pinot blanc. In addition to being found in the same region of France for centuries, ampelographers noted that the leaves of each plant have near-identical shape and structure. Pierre Galet disagreed with this assessment, believing that Chardonnay was not related to any other major grape variety. Viticulturalists Maynard Amerine & Harold Olmo proposed a descendency from a wild Vitis vinifera vine that was a step removed from white Muscat. Chardonnay's true origins were further obscured by vineyard owners in Lebanon and Syria, who claimed that the grape's ancestry could be traced to the Middle East, from where it was introduced to Europe by returning Crusaders, though there is little external evidence to support that theory. Another theory stated that it originated from an ancient indigenous vine found in Cyprus.

Modern DNA fingerprinting research at University of California, Davis, now suggests that Chardonnay is the result of a cross between the Pinot and Gouais Blanc (Heunisch) grape varieties. It is believed that the Romans brought Gouais Blanc from the Balkans, where it was widely cultivated by peasants in Eastern France. The Pinot of the French aristocracy grew in close proximity to the Gouais Blanc, giving both grapes ample opportunity to interbreed. Since the two parents were genetically distant, many of the crosses showed hybrid vigour and were selected for further propagation. These "successful" crosses included Chardonnay and siblings such as Aligoté, Aubin Vert, Auxerrois, Bachet noir, Beaunoir, Franc Noir de la-Haute-Saône, Gamay Blanc Gloriod, Gamay noir, Melon, Knipperlé, Peurion, Roublot, Sacy and Dameron.


Riesling is a white grape variety which originates in the Rhine region of Germany. Riesling is an aromatic grape variety displaying flowery, almost perfumed, aromas as well as high acidity. It is used to make dry, semi-sweet, sweet and sparkling white wines. Riesling wines are usually varietally pure and are seldom oaked. As of 2004, Riesling was estimated to be the world's 20th most grown variety at 48,700 hectares (120,000 acres) (with an increasing trend), but in terms of importance for quality wines, it is usually included in the "top three" white wine varieties together with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Riesling is a variety which is highly "terroir-expressive", meaning that the character of Riesling wines is clearly influenced by the wine's place of origin.

In 2006, Riesling was the most grown variety in Germany with 20.8% and 21,197 hectares (52,380 acres), and in the French region of Alsace with 21.9% and 3,350 hectares (8,300 acres). There are also significant plantings of Riesling in Austria, northern Italy, Australia, New Zealand, United States, Canada, China and Ukraine. In the countries where it is cultivated, Riesling is most commonly grown in colder regions and locations.

Riesling has a long history, and there are several written references to the variety dating from the 15th century, although with varying orthography. The earliest of these references dates from March 13, 1435, when the storage inventory of the high noble Count John IV. of Katzenelnbogen in Rüsselsheim (a small principality on the Rhine, close to today's Rheingau) lists "22 ß umb seczreben Rießlingen in die wingarten" ("22 shillings for Riesling vine cuttings for the vineyard"). The spelling Rießlingen is repeated in many other documents of the time. The modern spelling Riesling was first documented in 1552 when it was mentioned in Hieronymus Bock's Latin herbal.

A map of Kintzheim in Alsace from 1348 contains the text zu dem Russelinge, but it is not certain that this reference is to the grape variety. However, in 1477, Riesling was documented in Alsace under the spelling Rissling. In Wachau in Austria, there is a small stream and a small vineyard both called Ritzling, which are claimed locally to have given Riesling its name. However, there seem to be no documentary evidence to back this up, so this claim is not widely believed to be correct.

Riesling wines are often consumed when young, when they make a fruity and aromatic wine which may have aromas of green or other apples, grapefruit, peach, honey, rose blossom or cut green grass, and usually a crisp taste due to the high acidity. However, Riesling's naturally high acidity and range of flavours make it suitable for extended aging. International wine expert Michael Broadbent rates aged German Rieslings, some hundreds of years old, extremely highly. Sweet Riesling wines, such as German Trockenbeerenauslese are especially suited for cellaring since the high sugar content provides for additional preservation. However, high quality dry or off-dry Riesling wine is also known to have not just survived but also been enjoyable at an age exceeding 100 years.

The townhall of Bremen, Germany, stores various German wines, including Riesling based wines, in barrel back to the 1653 vintage.

More common aging periods for Riesling wines would be 5-15 years for dry, 10-20 years for semi-sweet and 10-30+ for sweet versions.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wines tasted on October 15th, 2008

Pinot Grigio (Gris)

1) Villa Dugo Pinot Grigio 2007, 13% ALC., DOC Friuli Isonzo, Italy

2) Erste & Neue Kellerei Pinot Grigio 2007, 13% ALC., DOC Alto Adige – South Tyrol, Italy

3) Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Gris 2007, 13.3% ALC., Willamette, Oregon, USA

Sauvignon Blanc

4) Sileni Cellar Selections Sauvignon Blanc 2007, 12.5% ALC., Marlborough, New Zealand

5) Clos Roche Blanche Sauvignon Blanc 2007, 12.5 ALC., AOC Tourain, Loire, France

6) De Martino Parcela 5 Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2007, 13.5% ALC., Casablanca, Chile

My Review:

1) I thought this wine was a bit boring. It had a little bit of vanilla and smokiness to it. Makes me think there was a bit of oak. Something I would suggest as a large party wine, not too expensive and bland enough to be inoffensive to everyone.

2)Much more interesting wine, with a bit of a floral note in the nose. The taste was still rather spicy, fruity with a little it of orange citrus.

3)A very different wine than the first two, more of a passion fruit and orange rind nose. The taste was a little sweet and creamy to me, although there was still plenty of acidity.

4)Like a freshly opened can of string beans. Lots of asparagus here, although the taste had a little bit of tropical fruit.

5)Really interesting. Like putting my nose into a bag of werthers originals. This wine was really aromatic with vanilla and butterscotch everywhere. The taste had some nice grapefruit to it, but the werthers were definitely overpowering.

6)Asparagus bomb! So much boiled string beans. I had to run out of the room.

7)We opened another bottle to see if we could find a classic Sauvignon Blanc. We did in the De Martino Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2007, 13.3% ALC, Maipo Valley, Chile. Thank goodness. There was the grapefruit I was looking for. This wine was spicy, zesty and very fresh.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is a green-skinned grape variety, which originates from the Bordeaux region of France. The grape gets its name from the French word sauvage ("wild") and blanc ("white") due to its early origins as an indigenous grape in South West France. It is now planted in many of the world's wine regions, producing a crisp, dry, and refreshing white varietal wine. Conversely, the grape is also a component of the famous dessert wines from Sauternes and Barsac. Sauvignon blanc is widely cultivated in France, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, California, and South America.

Depending on the climate, the flavor can range from aggressively grassy to sweetly tropical. Wine experts have used the phrase "crisp, elegant, and fresh" as a favorable description of Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley and New Zealand. Sauvignon blanc, when slightly chilled, pairs well with fish or cheese, particularly Chèvre. It is also known as one of the few wines that can pair well with sushi.

Along with Riesling, Sauvignon blanc was one of the first fine wines to be bottled with a screwcap in commercial quantities, especially by New Zealand producers. The wine is usually consumed young, as it does not particularly benefit from aging. Dry and sweet white Bordeaux, typically made with Sauvignon blanc as a major component, is the one exception.

The Sauvignon Blanc grape traces its origins to western France in the Loire Valley and Bordeaux Regions. At some point in the 18th century, the vine paired with Cabernet Franc to parent the Cabernet Sauvignon vine in Bordeaux. In the 19th century, plantings in Bordeaux were often interspersed with Sauvignon vert (In Chile, known as Sauvignonasse) as well as the Sauvignon blanc pink mutation Sauvignon gris. Prior to the phylloxera epidemic, the insect plague that devastated French vineyards in the 19th century, these interspersed cuttings were transported to Chile where the field blends are still common today. Despite the similarity in names, Sauvignon Blanc has no known relation to the Sauvignon Rosé mutation found in the Loire Valley of France.

The first cuttings of Sauvignon Blanc were brought to California by Charles Wetmore, founder of Cresta Blanca winery, in the 1880s. These cuttings came from the Sauternes vineyards of Château d'Yquem. The plantings produced well in Livermore Valley. Eventually, the wine acquired the alias of "Fumé Blanc" in California by promotion of Robert Mondavi in 1968. The grape was first introduced to New Zealand in the 1970s as an experimental planting to blended with Müller-Thurgau.

Pinot Gris (Grigio

Pinot Gris (Grigio)

Pinot gris is a white wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera. Thought to be a mutant clone of the Pinot noir grape, it normally has a grayish-blue fruit, accounting for its name ("gris" meaning "gray" in French) but the grape can have a brownish pink to black and even white appearance. The word "Pinot", which means "pinecone" in French, could have been given to it because the grapes grow in small pinecone-shaped clusters. The wines produced from this grape also vary in color from a deep golden yellow to copper and even a light shade of pink.[1] The clone of Pinot gris grown in Italy is known as Pinot grigio.

Pinot gris has been known from the Middle Ages in the Burgundy region, where it was probably called Fromenteau. It spread from Burgundy, along with Pinot noir, arriving in Switzerland by 1300. The grape was reportedly a favorite of the Emperor Charles IV, who had cuttings imported to Hungary by Cistercian monks: the brothers planted the vines on the slopes of Badacsony bordering Lake Balaton in 1375. The vine soon after developed the name Szürkebarát meaning "grey monk." In 1711, a German merchant, named Johann Seger Ruland (re)discovered a grape growing wild in the fields of the Palatinate. The subsequent wine he produced became known as Ruländer and the vine was later discovered to be Pinot gris.

Until the 18th and 19th century, the grape was a popular planting in Burgundy and Champagne but poor yields and unreliable crops caused the grape to fall out of favor in those areas. The same fate nearly occurred in Germany, but vine breeders in the early 20th century were able to develop clonal varieties that would produce a more consistent and reliable crop.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have determined that Pinot gris has a remarkably similar DNA profile to Pinot noir and that the color difference is derived from a genetic mutation that occurred centuries ago. The leaves and the vines of both grapes are so similar that the coloration difference is the only thing that tells them apart.

Around 2005, Pinot gris was enjoying increasing popularity in the marketplace, especially in its Pinot Grigio incarnation and similar New World varietal wines.

Wines made from the Pinot gris vary greatly and are dependent on the region and wine making style they are from. Alsatian Pinot gris are medium to full bodied wines with a rich, somewhat floral bouquet. They tend to be spicy in comparisons with other Pinot gris. While most Pinot gris are meant to be consumed early, Alsatian Pinot gris can age well. German Pinot gris are more full-bodied with a balance of acidity and slight sweetness. In Oregon the wines are medium bodied with a yellow to copper-pink color and aromas of pear, apple, and/or melon. In California, the Pinot gris are more light bodied with a crisp, refreshing taste with some pepper and arugula notes. The Pinot grigio style of Italy is a light-bodied, often lean wine that is light in color with sometimes spritzy flavors that can be crisp and acidic. Although this wine can be very sweet, it will begin to lose its acidity when it is nearly ripe.

Pinot gris is considered an "early to market wine" that can be bottled and out on the market within 4-12 weeks after fermentation

Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting

There are five basic steps in tasting wine: color, swirl, smell, taste, and savor. This is also known as the five Ss: See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip, And Savor. During this process, a taster must look for clarity, varietal character, integration, expressiveness, complexity, and connectedness.

A wine's color is better judged by putting it against a white background. The wine glass is put at an angle in order to see the colors. Colors can give the taster clues to the grape variety, and whether the wine was aged in wood.

Characteristics assessed during tasting

Varietal character describes how much a wine presents its inherent grape aromas. A wine taster also looks for integration, which is a state in which none of the components of the wine (acid, tannin, alcohol, etc) is out of balance with the other components. When a wine is well balanced, the wine is said to have achieved a harmonious fusion.

Another important quality of the wine to look for is its expressiveness. Expressiveness is the quality the "wine possesses when its aromas and flavors are well-defined and clearly projected. The complexity of the wine is affected by many factors, one of which may be the multiplicity of its flavors. The connectedness of the wine, a rather abstract and difficult to ascertain quality, is how connected is the bond between the wine and the land where it comes from.

Connoisseur wine tasting

A wine's quality can be judged by its bouquet and taste. The bouquet is the total aromatic experience of the wine. Assessing a wine's bouquet can also reveal faults such as cork taint, oxidation due to heat overexposure, and yeast contamination (e.g., due to Brettanomyces). To some wine aficionados, the presence of some Brettanomyces aromatic characteristics is considered a positive attribute; however to others, even the slightest hint of Brettanomyces character is cause for a wine's rejection.

The bouquet of wine is best revealed by gently swirling the wine in a wine glass to expose it to more oxygen and release more aromatic etheric, ester, and aldehyde molecules that comprise the essential components of a wine's bouquet.

Pausing to experience a wine's bouquet aids the wine taster in anticipating the wine's flavors and focusing the palate. The "nose" of a wine - its bouquet or aroma - is the major determinate of perceived flavor in the mouth. Once inside the mouth, the aromatics are further liberated by exposure to body heat, and transferred retronasally to the olfactory receptor site. It is here that the complex taste experience characteristic of a wine actually commences.

Thoroughly tasting a wine involves perception of its array of taste and mouthfeel attributes, which involve the combination of textures, flavors, weight,and overall "structure". Following appreciation of its olfactory characteristics, the wine taster savors a wine by holding it in the mouth for a few seconds to saturate the taste buds. By pursing ones lips and breathing through that small opening oxygen will pass over the wine and release even more esters. When the wine is allowed pass slowly through the mouth it presents the connoisseur with the fullest gustatory profile available to the human palate.

The act of pausing and focusing through each step distinguishes wine tasting from simple quaffing. Through this process, the full array of aromatic molecules is captured and interpreted by approximately 15 million olfactory receptors, comprising a few hundred olfactory receptor classes. When tasting several wines in succession, however, key aspects of this fuller experience (length and finish, or aftertaste) must necessarily be sacrificed through expectoration.
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