Tuesday, 11 March 2008

It's Not In The Nose

If you think you smell a wine differently to those around you, chances are you do according to the online magazine Nature. So whilst someone waxes lyrical about the hint of vanilla that you just can't smell in the wine there is no need to think that you have a faulty sense of smell.

New scientific evidence that proves people smell the world differently because of their genes. Scientists from Rockefeller University in New York found that small changes in one gene can cause people to variously perceive a key ingredient of male body odour as smelling sweaty, urinous, floral, sweet, odourless or even of vanilla!

It is known that some people are blind to smells like vanilla and musk that can be part of the smell of wine. To them, wine will smell different. It is likely that at least some of these effects are caused by variability in odorant receptors.

If an aroma in a wine reminds you of something – for example pears, green peppers or plums – it's because all food and drink is made up of a complex combination of molecules, some being more aromatic than others.

One of the typical compounds found in pears, hexyl acetate, is also responsible for the scent of pears in a wine – likewise green peppers (often associated with Sauvignon Blanc) share a similar compound – methoxy 2 isobutyl 3 pyrazine.

As for a wine that smells closest to a grape, the best examples are those made with the muscat grape, also known as muscadelle.

Images Courtesy of www.flickr.com

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