Now I'm starting to wonder if it's genetic. ("Beaujolais Nouveau, Baby Nouveau," by bhollar)
My dad puts me to shame when he describes a wine. He smells all kinds of things–rhubarb, for instance–that elude me.
And I think my niece is going to put me to shame, too. She's thirteen. We were visiting friends in Paris and they–in true French fashion–offered her a taste of the delicious Chenin Blanc we were having with dinner. She refused, but did allow as how she'd like to smell it. I handed her my glass, expecting her to twist up her face and say "blech." Instead, she lowered her nose into the glass and made an appreciative sound.
I asked her what it smelled like, and braced myself for the response "wine." Her grandmother frequently has this response, and the child is, after all, thirteen and eats mostly white meat chicken and rice. What does she know of gooseberries?
"Citrus and meadowlands," was her reply.
I almost fell off the sofa. She pretty much nailed the aromas in the wine–and it's not because we text message each other about wine. Her parents drink wine but I think both would admit that they enjoy sipping it more than talking about it. And I see my niece once every few years–so I haven't contaminated her with winespeak.
I've been thinking about her response ever since and wondering if wine appreciation has a genetic component. That's not to say that education means nothing–I think it means a lot. But I do wonder now if both an interest in wine and the ability to taste and smell a wide range of flavors and aromas in wine also depends on your DNA.
I'm sure there's a scientific study somewhere that talks about this, but I want to know what you think. How do your sensory abilities with respect to wine stack up to your parents and grandparents? What about your kids? And if you have kids who smell wine, I wonder if they are less inhibited and more intuitive in their descriptions. As we age, do our minds tell us "there's no raspberry in that," whereas once our noses were screaming "berries, yum, berries"?