[MUSIC] Welcome back. In the previous lesson, we looked at wine color. In this lesson, we will discuss that first wine sniff. So the next order of business, after we've written careful notes about clarity and color of a wine, is to bring the wine up to our nose. And as we bring up to our nose, we want to swirl the wine. I don't care if you swirl it clockwise or counterclockwise, or if you're right-handed or left-handed. Either way, what that serves to do is to coat the interior of the walls of the glass with a thin film of wine. And the agitation of swirling will help the wine release its volatile aromas that are precisely what you want to smell. As I said earlier about the shape of the glass, that nice curvature of the upper part of the glass helps to trap in those volatiles, at least momentarily, and make them available for us to smell. If you don't feel confident swirling a wine by holding it up by the stem, a very foolproof way to swirl the wine is to set the base of the glass down on a solid table top and draw circles with it. I've never seen anybody spill that way. But I've often seen people put red wine on their nice tie by swirling up in the air. So do whatever's comfortable for you. After you're swirled, bring the wine up to your nose and just give it a couple of quick sniffs. Sensory professionals call those rabbit sniffs or bunny sniffs. Just sort of wrinkle up your nose, give the glass a couple of sniffs. At this point, your goal is to see whether or not the wine is sound. Is this wine okay? This would obviously be more important in a restaurant setting, for example, where you may want to call the waiter back and you may have some questions about the wine. You may want to know if the wine is fresh, recently opened. Or you may want to know if the waiter agrees with you that there's a problem with this wine. So that's important to find out right away. If you watch wine judges, when they judge wine, they will go through their entire flight of wines, giving each one a tiny little sniff. The idea is not to plumb the depths of the aromatics of the wine at that point, but merely to see if the wine has any conspicuous problems. At that point, I would go ahead and swirl. If everything is okay to proceed, I would go ahead and swirl it again, and give the wine a few quick sniffs and then a deep, deep sniff. The idea is that we want to pull wine all the way up into our sinuses so that it can reach our olfactory region. Our Olfactory Bulb is the part of our brain that has sensors in our sinuses that pick up aromatics as they float by. Without going into the physiology of our sense of smell, these sensors are coated with proteins that bind selectively with odors that float by and give us an instant picture of what we're smelling. The picture is transferred to our olfactory bulb, which sends a photograph, so to speak, up to our brain. And our brain searches its database for a matching photograph, and if it finds one it says, aha, bananas! Aha, strawberries. I'm not sure what that is, but it smells a little bit like fresh fruit or cherries, but I'm not positive. So in other words, your brain has found a partial match. If your brain doesn't find a match at all, it says, I have no idea what this is. [LAUGH] But it may be that you are just at that very miniscule gap between knowing what it is in your brain but failing to recognize what it is with your nose. The smell memories that our brain carries, sometimes they're very, very deeply buried. Sometimes they're associated with emotional events in our lives. I remember the smell of perfume on my first prom date. I remember the smell of my dad's first new car. I remember the smell of a thunder and lightning storm in Nebraska. And these smells all occurred as a much younger person, not the prom date of course. But many of these smells are lodged in our brain from when we're actually young children. It was the job of our nose 30 million years ago to detect the presence of danger. To detect the presence of harmful things in our environment. To detect the presence of impurities or rot in food that we were about to eat. Or to detect the presence of freshness and fruitiness in other food that we were sampling. So our nose is actually one of our earliest lines of defense against poisoning ourselves accidentally, or against being eaten by a predator 30 million years ago. So our nose tends to react quickly and emotionally to things. Someone handed you that glass of wine that I talked about in our introduction and your first thought is, I like it or I don't like it. And after being polite, you decide you really don't like it and so you're going to dispose of it, right? But actually, we have to short circuit our brain, we have to pause, we have to think. We have to notice what's in the glass, give it another swirl, sniff it again and really try to relate what we're smelling to odors that we're smelling. We'll do some exercises later by preparing some basic odors in wine, white wine and red wine, that will help us practice noticing smells and flavors in specific wines. But once we learn to short circuit that process, once we learn to click on the part of our brain that conjures up our mental Rolodex or our mental glossary of food and spice and herb-specific smell vocabulary, we will get quickly very, very good at naming what it is that we smell. Especially after you and I have had a chance to practice this a bit. The range of things that we could possibly smell, when we are sniffing our glass of wine, is of course huge. If we know a bit about the wine beforehand, for example, we know that it's a chardonnay from California or we know that it's a blend involving cabernet from Bordeaux, then our brain can search its memory. And call up all the various expected odors and flavors that we would find in such a wine. But if we're tasting blind, and that's how I recommend that we always taste, blind, not knowing what we're tasting, maybe just a general category of what we're tasting, then it's up to us to come up with all of these particular adjectives or descriptive words. We'll discuss all the expected lists of flavor and aroma notes for particular varietals or particular wines from different parts of the world in our next lecture. We'll also tell you how to make standards that exhibit those basic tastes and basic smells. But for now, this is what we're looking for, we're looking for a range of aromatics. And the whole time we're smelling, we're writing notes, we're writing words. We're smelling a white wine and we're writing apple, pear floral, rose-like, citrus peel, herbaceous, things like this. If it's a red wine, we might say, well, this smells just like fresh berries. Well, no, wait a minute, I smell something more specific. Actually, it smells like a blackberry, a very ripe blackberry and there's a little pepper note to it. In this lesson, we discussed the first sniff. In the next lesson, we will turn our attention to the first taste.