Jean Lenoir, born into a wine-loving family in Burgundy developed Le Nez du Vin over 25 years ago. Several different kits are available and the one pictured here is the 54 aroma Master Kit. The vials are presented in families: fruity, floral, vegetal and spicy, animal and roasted notes. Each vial is accompanied by an information card that tells you a little more about the scent and what wines you can expect to find it in.
Up close, the vials look like this:
Do not ingest them, mix them with water or apply them as perfume – simply unscrew the top and sniff.
As I mentioned in an earlier post about how to taste, it can be challenging to accurately describe aromas and flavors in wine without developing your tasting vocabulary. Kits like this are a fun way to practice. Well, not as fun as actually drinking, but you get the idea.
I often make the argument that smell is more important than taste when it comes to enjoying wine. There are two “smell actions” that happen when you taste wine – the direct action of sticking your nose in the glass and the indirect action of the aromas creeping up the back of your throat after you swallow or spit the wine out. These creeping aromas are referred to as retronasal aromas (traveling through your retronasal passage). You’ll often noticed a few scents you missed the first time around.
You can also think about it this way: when you have a cold, nothing tastes good to you and it’s because you can’t smell your food. In preparation for coffee class, I learned that only 5% of the population would be able to identify the beverage as coffee if they were to taste it while wearing a nose clip.
The kit also includes a book that covers learning how to recognize aromas, the impact of soil on wine and more in-depth information on all of the included scents. In one section, Lenoir makes a very astute observation, “We are taught to read, write and count, why not to smell?”