In our family, we celebrate Christmas at the stoke of midnight — which means that Christmas Eve is full of family and friends waiting anxiously for the little hand and the big hand to meet at the number 12 on the clock. This year I sat at the table enjoying dinner with my aunt, cousin, uncle and dad – while the rest of the family sat at the “long” table talking about God only knows what.
The topic at our table went from the infrequency of family visits to how the meat just fell off of the fork to the fact that my younger cousin doesn’t know much about wine because she does not have a sense of smell.
This got me thinking — if wine is 80% smell, then what process would she take on when learning about wines? Admittedly, she didn’t know much, but was absolutely willing to learn.
I started by pouring her a small taste of wine – a 2001 LoMac Winery Zinfandel out of Fresno to be exact. I explained to her that often times people just pour and drink – but that when it came to wine, we really should take a few moments to consider what it was that we were drinking and to appreciate it. We looked at the color of the wine – a deep ruby with just a hint of brown in it. I explained that the brown is indicative of older grapes. Then we smelled. Since she can’t really smell anything, I took in the aroma while she mimicked the motion. Then we tasted. At first she did what every other person does, just drank. I explained to her that she take it just a little slower – let it sit on the palate, see what you taste. I explained to her why she was salivating and then why her tongue felt dry. At this point my aunt was intrigued so she asked for a glass and repeated the steps with us.
Being new to wine, my cousin, naturally, would have to get used to the steps, but no doubt she would be more aware next time a glass of wine was poured – even if she couldn’t smell a thing.
20% appreciate of wine is so much better than the 0% appreciation a lot of people give it. I’m proud of her for keeping and open mind and realizing that wine doesn’t have to be difficult, but rather it can be a challenge with a unique reward.