Ideal environment to enjoy wine

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
Post Reply
Message
Author
J.Vizuete
Posts: 178
Joined: March 19th, 2017, 12:15 pm

Ideal environment to enjoy wine

#1 Post by J.Vizuete » December 4th, 2018, 7:48 pm

I wonder if others feel as I do that stepping outside for a few minutes to smell and taste makes my impressions of the wine significantly more accurate.
Leaving whatever indoor environment I’m in is a big “palate cleanser” for my nose. A huge portion of sensory enjoyment is olfactory, and thus I tend to like and remember wines consumed outside a bit more. Does anybody else find this to be true?

It also occurred to me to ask if anyone uses other simple tricks like this to increase their enjoyment of a bottle (at home or elsewhere)? Obviously, things like glassware may play a role (let’s not debate that particular one here), but what about lighting, sound, competing smells (might those in some cases help or even suggest flavors?) etc? I don’t mean to over analyze it, just trying to maximize the everyday experience.
John V.

Tom Reddick
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 954
Joined: June 30th, 2009, 9:56 pm
Location: Dallas, TX

Re: Ideal environment to enjoy wine

#2 Post by Tom Reddick » December 4th, 2018, 11:48 pm

Good question.

When I am in crowded settings at a big tasting- I often find myself seeking a corner or just tuning out the entire table to focus. Not so much for enjoyment, but for making a good TN. Once I get the TNs done, I can relax and just enjoy the wine and company- making the additional odd note as the wines evolve.

For more serious evaluation- the absolute best setting for me is to taste a wine alone over several hours while I am working on a creative endeavor of some kind. In such settings, I am my most relaxed and yet also attentive and focused- if that makes sense- and a sip or two of wine is a nice periodic break from the intensity of creating something (be it painting, manually reconstructing a fabric etc.). This is how I get my best TNs.
ITB

User avatar
Robert Dentice
Posts: 1488
Joined: March 5th, 2009, 11:40 am

Re: Ideal environment to enjoy wine

#3 Post by Robert Dentice » December 5th, 2018, 3:51 am

The best environment for me is when I can drink great wine from proper stemware at any type of live musical performance. Usually hard to do unless you have a hookup.

User avatar
Sh@n A
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 414
Joined: July 9th, 2018, 8:21 am

Re: Ideal environment to enjoy wine

#4 Post by Sh@n A » December 5th, 2018, 5:30 am

For me, it was recognizing what I prefer more in wine. I have a relatively poor sense of smell, so when I get a whiff of something I can smell/enjoy -- I will spend more time smelling than drinking. Conversely, I enjoy mouthfeel more than aromatics, so I will savor the wine in the mouth more after drinking it. So just the process of recognizing what I like in wine, and focusing more on those aspects, has helped me appreciate the experience more.
/ @ g r @ \

User avatar
Howard Cooper
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 14753
Joined: May 30th, 2009, 8:37 am
Location: Rockville, MD

Re: Ideal environment to enjoy wine

#5 Post by Howard Cooper » December 5th, 2018, 5:45 am

I prefer to drink wine with friends. Nothing beats drinking what I love with people I love.
Howard

"That's what I do. I drink and I know things." Tyrion Lannister

J.Vizuete
Posts: 178
Joined: March 19th, 2017, 12:15 pm

Re: Ideal environment to enjoy wine

#6 Post by J.Vizuete » December 5th, 2018, 6:42 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
December 5th, 2018, 5:45 am
I prefer to drink wine with friends. Nothing beats drinking what I love with people I love.
Same here. If I'm looking for an overall experience, there's no topping sharing a special bottle with good friends.

But for sheer appreciation of the product itself, I thought of a few other things:

1. I like wines I can see - natural light shows the hue and clarity best
2. My senses are sharper earlier in the day - afternoon tasting is better than late night for me
3. I like tasting with others who are interested. The power of suggestion is a strong one and my friends frequently pick up notes I have missed but are there upon reflection
4. Quiet is better than loud for focus

So, if maximal enjoyment (for me) happens outside, in natural light, early in the day, in a relatively quiet space, with an interested group (and good stemware, etc)... I'm basically describing a tasting appointment at in Napa (Outpost comes to mind). No wonder I'm on so many mailers...

As for wine + live music, that just sounds like a good place to drink, period. It just happens that wine is the superlative alcoholic beverage. (But why am I getting notes of mary jane? Is this cab franc or something?)
John V.

Ron Slye
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 398
Joined: May 4th, 2014, 2:11 pm

Re: Ideal environment to enjoy wine

#7 Post by Ron Slye » December 5th, 2018, 7:00 am

I had not thought of stepping outdoors to get some fresh air -- I will definitely try that.

At first I thought you were talking about environment/atmosphere that made a wine special -- I remember a SA sauv blanc sitting at a table in a small cafe overlooking the ocean in Hermanus (South Africa). The taste and feel of the day are etched in my memory.

Back to the OP -- I do think smell is the most important thing. I do find if I am cooking with strong herb or other flavor, I tend to taste that in the wine as well -- which has to be wrong at some level. So the reverse, trying to get rid of those distractions, is important to fairly assess the wine. BUT, if the outside aroma helps me to enjoy the wine better, that is not a bad thing -- I just need to make sure I remember why it tasted so good that time and why it might not the next time!

Like Tom, I tend to prefer sticking with a bottle over an evening, either reading or engaged in some other enjoyable activity. I find tastings (esp our tasting group in Seattle) to be extremely informative -- I too discover things in a wine through the perception of others that I might not have otherwise discovered -- as well as learn something about winemaking or a region that I did not otherwise know. But I don't enjoy the wines as much that way. In fact sometimes there are just too many -- I find that the x taste (maybe 8, or 10?) starts to become a bit blurry on my palate.

Anyway, nice topic -- thanks for introducing it.

PS. Oh, I am a reluctant but complete believer in stemware. It is humbling to me how different a wine tastes in a different shaped wine glass. Makes me not order wine in certain restaurants if they have those squat small pour glasses that I associate with Italian restaurants in NY when I was young.

J.Vizuete
Posts: 178
Joined: March 19th, 2017, 12:15 pm

Re: Ideal environment to enjoy wine

#8 Post by J.Vizuete » December 5th, 2018, 7:19 am

Ron Slye wrote:
December 5th, 2018, 7:00 am
Back to the OP -- I do think smell is the most important thing. I do find if I am cooking with strong herb or other flavor, I tend to taste that in the wine as well -- which has to be wrong at some level. So the reverse, trying to get rid of those distractions, is important to fairly assess the wine. BUT, if the outside aroma helps me to enjoy the wine better, that is not a bad thing -- I just need to make sure I remember why it tasted so good that time and why it might not the next time!
Thanks for your thoughts, Ron. I agree - the right pairing can certainly draw out features from a wine and make it take shape in a different light than alone. Neither is inherently better, but competing aromas aren't always a bad thing. Still, we steam broccoli for our kids pretty regularly and have a (clean, short-haired) boxer dog in our house ... so it's nice to step out on the back porch on a typical weeknight. I find my appreciation for the wine is maybe 20-25% more.
Ron Slye wrote:
December 5th, 2018, 7:00 am
I find tastings (esp our tasting group in Seattle) to be extremely informative -- I too discover things in a wine through the perception of others that I might not have otherwise discovered -- as well as learn something about winemaking or a region that I did not otherwise know. But I don't enjoy the wines as much that way. In fact sometimes there are just too many -- I find that the x taste (maybe 8, or 10?) starts to become a bit blurry on my palate.
There's a sweet spot for me. When possible, I prefer to have at least 1-2 other quality bottles/glasses which can highlight the merits of the bottle I'm focusing on. It helps if these are related somewhat. I've posted before how I'm always impressed at those who can taste a large number of wines and maintain good notes. It gets muddled at some point.
Ron Slye wrote:
December 5th, 2018, 7:00 am
PS. Oh, I am a reluctant but complete believer in stemware. It is humbling to me how different a wine tastes in a different shaped wine glass. Makes me not order wine in certain restaurants if they have those squat small pour glasses that I associate with Italian restaurants in NY when I was young.
There's a restaurant in Dallas with some fairly decent (and certainly pricey) red and white burgundies by the glass that they serve in.. wait for it... chunky lowball glasses. It makes no sense to me.
John V.

User avatar
David Glasser
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5112
Joined: August 16th, 2009, 6:03 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: Ideal environment to enjoy wine

#9 Post by David Glasser » December 5th, 2018, 8:03 am

Good friends.
Good meal.
Relaxed, quiet atmosphere.
No chemical smells, perfume, scented deodorant.
Indoors. For me, aromas lose focus outdoors.
Decent stems.

Robert.A.Jr.
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18368
Joined: January 28th, 2010, 5:03 am
Location: Orlando, Florida

Re: Ideal environment to enjoy wine

#10 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » December 5th, 2018, 8:08 am

Honestly, at home, especially during these wonderfully cool months in Florida, sitting on the deck or in the chaise overlooking my little lake. Love the company there with my wife sipping her New Zealand Sav Blancs, close friends, or just my dogs. I choose what I drink, the temperature and stems, the size of the pours, just perfect for me.

"Alfert was clearly raised in an outhouse in the Loire. . . ."

Kenny H (circa 2015)

User avatar
GregT
Posts: 6581
Joined: April 15th, 2009, 3:12 pm

Re: Ideal environment to enjoy wine

#11 Post by GregT » December 5th, 2018, 8:10 am

A huge portion of sensory enjoyment is olfactory
But not from sniffing. For me, as long as someone doesn't have perfume, cologne, or some kind of lotion on, I'm OK. It's nice to drink with other people or it's nice to have a glass alone. Perception isn't really affected, although the overall enjoyment may be. And I would no more step outside to sniff wine than to sniff cheese, steak, walnuts, or whatever. Seems a bit anti-social if you're with other people for dinner.
G . T a t a r

User avatar
Rich Brown
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2441
Joined: January 5th, 2015, 3:38 pm
Location: Phoenix

Re: Ideal environment to enjoy wine

#12 Post by Rich Brown » December 5th, 2018, 9:08 am

I totally agree with the outdoor comment. Especially when it's a nice crisp day/night, I feel like it immediately refreshes my palate, and often times emphasizes the nose of the wine even further (sometimes the palate to a lesser degree) when I step outside.

Richard Albert
Posts: 411
Joined: November 16th, 2012, 2:49 pm
Location: Southernmost NorCal Wine Country

Re: Ideal environment to enjoy wine

#13 Post by Richard Albert » December 5th, 2018, 9:49 am

+1

I have learned over the years a brief walk outside, less than a minute of brisk walking will revitalize my olfactory acuity at a tasting, most of which are eve events
ITB

User avatar
dsimmons
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 414
Joined: January 7th, 2017, 11:51 am
Location: Anchorage, AK and Rockport, TX

Re: Ideal environment to enjoy wine

#14 Post by dsimmons » December 5th, 2018, 10:16 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
December 5th, 2018, 5:45 am
I prefer to drink wine with friends. Nothing beats drinking what I love with people I love.
Bingo. Sharing with family and friends is a magnifier for me,... its the primary payoff for all of the effort and time spent on this hobby.
D o n

User avatar
Howard Cooper
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 14753
Joined: May 30th, 2009, 8:37 am
Location: Rockville, MD

Re: Ideal environment to enjoy wine

#15 Post by Howard Cooper » December 5th, 2018, 10:35 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
December 5th, 2018, 8:08 am
wonderfully cool months in Florida
This would be 80 degrees?
Howard

"That's what I do. I drink and I know things." Tyrion Lannister

Wes Barton
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 3102
Joined: January 29th, 2009, 3:54 am

Re: Ideal environment to enjoy wine

#16 Post by Wes Barton » December 5th, 2018, 2:01 pm

Our olfactory systems are very plastic. In a controlled environment, if you are continually smelling a wine, your brain will turn down the volume of some of the more obvious smells, enabling you to perceive some more subtle ones. There's an evolutionary purpose in this. In a tasting environment, it can be helpful to take a break and recover your primary perceptions. In follows that other smells in the environment that are low volume themselves could have an impact on your perception, so cleansing them out with some fresh air certainly could improve your perception of the wine.

Our sense perception area of the brain is pliable, meaning the same space could become dedicated to processing different sense, depending on how we've trained our brains. That's why disruptive sounds can impact our sense of smell, for example (and more for some people than others). For some, sounds, like certain music, can harmonize with and enhance other senses.

Think spicy food. Have you ever had something so hot (which is tactile) that you can't taste or smell? You may have also had something that was quite hot for you, but not too hot, that served to enhance your sense of taste and smell.
ITB - Useless lackey

User avatar
lleichtman
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1135
Joined: June 28th, 2014, 6:28 pm
Location: Santa Fe NM

Re: Ideal environment to enjoy wine

#17 Post by lleichtman » December 5th, 2018, 2:38 pm

I really appreciate tasting outdoors. The only aromas that are bothersome are barnyard, otherwise the odors of outdoors seem to enhance the wines for me.
Lawrence G. Leichtman

RDHudak
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 602
Joined: July 19th, 2010, 7:23 pm
Location: Va. Beach, VA.

Re: Ideal environment to enjoy wine

#18 Post by RDHudak » December 5th, 2018, 7:15 pm

Rich Brown wrote:
December 5th, 2018, 9:08 am
I totally agree with the outdoor comment. Especially when it's a nice crisp day/night, I feel like it immediately refreshes my palate, and often times emphasizes the nose of the wine even further (sometimes the palate to a lesser degree) when I step outside.
Same. I feel I get much more vibrancy from wine and bourbon while tasting outdoors.

User avatar
Sebastian C.
Posts: 646
Joined: June 22nd, 2012, 3:00 pm
Location: CT

Re: Ideal environment to enjoy wine

#19 Post by Sebastian C. » December 5th, 2018, 8:40 pm

My ideal environment to enjoy wine is with a meal and friends. I rarely, if ever, drink wine by itself or by myself.
C0rr3@

P Intag
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 637
Joined: September 5th, 2010, 9:19 pm
Location: SoCal

Re: Ideal environment to enjoy wine

#20 Post by P Intag » December 6th, 2018, 12:55 pm

I recently ran across a tasting on on CT where the guy was blaming a bad tasting experience on it being a "root day". I googled it and apparently it is a "thing" where different days in a lunar cycle or some such nonsense affect one's enjoyment of drinking wine. Anyone here subscribe to this idea?
Paul

Wes Barton
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 3102
Joined: January 29th, 2009, 3:54 am

Re: Ideal environment to enjoy wine

#21 Post by Wes Barton » December 6th, 2018, 1:55 pm

P Intag wrote:
December 6th, 2018, 12:55 pm
I recently ran across a tasting on on CT where the guy was blaming a bad tasting experience on it being a "root day". I googled it and apparently it is a "thing" where different days in a lunar cycle or some such nonsense affect one's enjoyment of drinking wine. Anyone here subscribe to this idea?
Someone opening a single bottle and ascribing some mystic cause for why it shows poorly compared to the bottle opened 3 months prior is a bizarre superstitious conceptualization. Young wines go through cycles of change, independent from each other. Another bottle from the same case, opened at the same time can show quite differently. So, is one bottle having a root day and the other having a fruit day? Maybe Dionysus is punishing you for not performing some ritual before opening the bottle.
ITB - Useless lackey

User avatar
M.Kaplan
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 4569
Joined: April 18th, 2009, 9:10 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Ideal environment to enjoy wine

#22 Post by M.Kaplan » December 6th, 2018, 1:57 pm

Sebastian C. wrote:
December 5th, 2018, 8:40 pm
My ideal environment to enjoy wine is with a meal and friends. I rarely, if ever, drink wine by itself or by myself.
Yup. This.
---Mark

Post Reply

Return to “Wine Talk”