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Wine Spectator School

Class 2: Tasting Reds

sensory basics


Your Sense of Smell

Located in the passage that connects the nose and mouth, a tiny patch of nerve endings called the olfactory epithelium senses airborne scents as they pass by. The information is transmitted to the olfactory bulb in the brain, which can identify thousands of scents as well as distinguish the presence of a scent at very low levels.

Recall the difference between aromas and flavors:

  • Scents that enter the retronasal passages via the nose are called aromas.
  • Scents that enter the retronasal passages via the mouth are called flavors.


Aroma & Flavor vs. Taste

In contrast to the enormous number of aromas and flavors, there are only four tastes. The tongue tastes sweet, sour (or tart), bitter and...

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