The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2013

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Page 63 of 148

WINEOCOLOGY C'mon Now Touch Me, Baby M any wine drinkers don't even have the sense of touch on their evaluation radar screens, and that includes wine professionals and novices alike. In their rush to put wine in their mouths, they forget to consider how it feels once it gets there. And therein lies the misstep. Very much as aroma holds the true key to lavor perception, it is your sense of touch, rather than taste, that delivers the lion's share of information on sugar, acid, tannin and alcohol levels—the "Core 4" structural elements that make up any given wine. These vital components provide powerful clues as to variety, viticulture and viniication. Just as with sight and smell, being able to tune in to touch impacts your ability to know why you like a wine, what to eat with it and whom to share it with—all of the things that make drinking it such a pleasurable pursuit. In my new book, Wineocology, I explore how all of the Core 4 constituent elements in wine have their own extremely unique tactile signatures. And further, I show how each imparts its textural effects on a speciic part of your mouth. In order to pair and share wine like a pro you've got to know what each wine is made up of, and the Core 4 constituent elements that make up wine's fundamental ingredients are all best known through touch. Sugar is felt mostly in the midpalate and the roof of your mouth as a smooth, coating sensation; acid as a prickly, tingling on the tip and sides of your tongue; tannin as a drying feeling that creates drag between your tongue and your teeth; and alcohol as a warming burn in the back of your throat and down into your esophagus. One of the cornerstones of quality is whether or not a wine balances its Core 4 seamlessly, with no one element sticking out awkwardly from the others. As the key to any inancially vibrant wine program is the buyer's ability to recognize wines whose quality far exceeds their price point, touch is the sommelier's secret weapon for iscal success. by Caitlin Stansbury, author of Wineocology The textures of wine are the walls upon which color, aroma, and especially lavor are displayed. They are the backbone that props up the visual, olfactory, and gustatory expressions of any given wine. Yet, no matter how fundamentally important these walls are, you still go to the museum to experience what's hanging on them! Next month, we will explore the lamboyantly delicious Picasso painting called "Taste"! PHOTO: VIKTOR BUDNIK HOW WINE ENGAGES THE TACTILE SENSE may 2013 / the tasting panel / 63

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