Enjoying wine is all about the aroma; sure, it tastes good, but no other drink has such an array of scents and fragrances, subtle notes and hints of everything from flowers to cherry pie. As you immerse yourself into the wine world, you certainly start to appreciate your sense of smell a bit more.
You’ll know what I mean when you visit a winery, particularly its barrel room. A winery barrel room, stocked to the roof with barrels always has a big impact, not only is it stunning to see, but overwhelming for your five senses.
You can smell humidity, in a good way. Barriques and hogsheads, French and American oak, they all release beautiful, sweet aromas of sawed wood in a lumber mill, raw spices and a sour note of fermenting fruit within a palpable monastic feel.
Here are a few suggestions to consider if I’ve inspired you to go visit a local wine barrel room:
- Ask questions. Not all barrels are the same; some might be older than you! The type of wood, the toasting level, their capacity. All this information can later answer questions while trying the wine. [So, that’s where the spice comes from…].
- Be respectful. Remember, these barrels are quite expensive and hold a whole-years-worth of hard work.
- Try the wine, if offered. If you’re lucky, your host (hopefully the winemaker) will offer you a barrel sample, but don’t insist. Every time someone opens a barrel, they expose wine to air, and wine is a living, fragile creature.
- It’s not the barrels, it’s the people. Of course, visiting a wine cellar, a fermenting room or a cellar door is fun. But getting to know the people behind it all is the real treat. There’s passion here, soak it up.
- Have fun! Every winery is different; a visit binds you forever to its wine, and memories will pop up in your mind every time you take a sip. Good times wine lovers, good times.