Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Le Nez du Vin

If I'm going to list one passion in my life, except perfume, friends and family, that would be wine. In order to pursuit this hobby, in a somewhat structured and seriously looking manner, me and some friends have a small wine circle. That means we meet up for themed wine tastings at one anothers homes every three weeks or so.

One of the members in our group has invested in the box depicted above. It's a 54 piece collection of little bottles and in every one of them there is liquid that smells like a scent note that is present in wine. For instance, there are "Lemon", "Hay", "Musk", "Dark Chocolate", "Yeast" and many others. There are also descriptions of all the notes and some info about what notes are found in what type of wine.

I found this idea sooooo nifty, I'd love to have a scent library with "clean" notes to turn to for reference. Smelling the bottles is a little bit tricky, though. I found that you have to hold them at a precise distance from your nose while smelling. If they are to close the main note gets obscured by the carrier and if they are to far away tou won't pick anything up. 20 cm (say 8 inches) from the nose seemed to be ideal.

Another thing I realised when smelling those samples is that I'm completely anosmic to the musk included in the box. This has made me thinking, the notes that I've interpreted as musk before, is that musk but another kind than in the box? Or is it something that perfumers tend to put in perfumes to go with musk? I've no idea. One thing is for sure, I'll pay more attention to second opinions whenever wearing musk heavy secnts from now on...

The box is sold by a company named "Le Nez du Vin" and in the picture is their "big box" containing notes from all different types of wines. There are also smaller sets available for red wine, white wine, coffee, notes one get from oaking wine and there is one set with smells of defects, as well.

Pics and more info at:  Le Nez du Vin


  1. This looks very nice and helpful.
    Im sure it makes tasting wine even more enjoyable.
    The same thing for perfumes exists.

  2. Yes, Ive been thinking I should get something sinmilar for perfumes. Maybe taha will be my Christmas gift to myself thhis year :)

  3. This is one more thing we have in common. My vSO and I are wine aficionados. I'm writing this from a hotel in one of the Northern California wine region.
    It's a very interesting box, I thought about getting something like that. I still might. I just keep finding something else to spend money on: perfumes, wines... :)

  4. Winewise (and, actually, in most ways) California got to be the ideal place to live in. I'd love to be able to go on wine tasting excursions during weekends :) Do you have any favorite Californian wines/wineyards that you could recommend to me?

  5. Sigrun, tomorrow night I'm going to a party hosted by a guy who makes his own cheesecakes, and they are exceptionally good -- he experiments with all kinds of flavors and has a very subtle way of incorporating them. But at any rate, I won't get off onto a tangent describing his creations, but your post makes me think you're the perfect person to ask this question. He invited me to this cheesecake tasting party tomorrow, and I'm supposed to take a beverage, and I'm thinking I'd like to take a very clean but interesting white wine. Am I thinking along the right lines, and if so, do you have any suggestions??? We have a pretty good wine store here, with wines from a wide range of countries, so if you have specific recommendations, I'd love to hear them. Thanks!!!

  6. Matching food and wine is tricky. I give it a lot of thought, still I often make bad decisions, so just take what I say as a suggestion. Just as with perfume, there are no strict rules except that everyone should go with what they like :)

    For cheesecakes, now I'm assuming that they are sweet and relatively high-fat, I have 3 suggestions:

    A fortified sweet wine, such as a sweet port or a Madeira
    A sweet white wine, high in acid, such as the Rieslings they make in Germany or Austria
    Eau de Vie or a nice Cognac or Brandy

    I'm going to explain how I'm thinking here. When choosing a wine it's good to start with looking at the main characteristics of the dish you're going to serve with it. What are the main basic flavours (as in sweet, sour, bitter, salty, umami)? Is it high in fat or light and delicate?

    With sweet dishes, in general, you want to match the sweetness of the dish with the sweetness of the wine. If you serve a regular (non sweet) wine with a sweet dessert dish the acid of the wine will stand out and overpower the other flavours present in the wine.

    Also, a high fat dish needs a fuller wine to cut through the fat and make itself heard. This can be manifested in several ways, most notably by either high acidity or a higher level of alcohol. Therefore I think a sweet fortified wine would be great (high in both sugar and alcohol), or a sweet Riesling (high in sugar and acid) or an Eau de Vie (very high in alcohol).

    Ok, I hope I've managed to be helpful here. If you have any more questions, just let me know and I'll try to explain further :)

  7. Sigrun, thank you soooo much! (And thank you for the email, too.) I really appreciate your taking the time to explain your reasoning because my initial thought was that I shouldn't take a sweet wine--that there would be too much sweetness all around. But what you said makes sense about the acids in a non-sweet wine tasting maybe too pronounced when served with the cheesecake.

    I have no idea what an Eau de Vie is, so I'll have fun looking it up and will probaby buy one just to educate myself -- and maybe one for the party. Though you have me thinking along the lines of an expensive port, now.

    (I have a feeling this is going to be a rather high-brow little affair, and the last thing I want to do is show up with a boring Chablis, looking like a dolt. :) Off to the store now, thanks again!

  8. Suzanne, I'd love to hear what you settle on and how it'll work out!

    Eau de Vie is a distilled liquor made from fruit. It's clear and very strong with a hint of flavour from the fruits used (see more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eau_de_vie). They've been very popular here for the last few years.

    Good luck with everything :)

  9. Sigrun, I wanted to let you know that the party was a lot of fun: this guy made five different cheesecakes, all of them with all-natural flavorings so they were very subtle, except for one he made with 5 different kinds of chocolate. I like chocolate, but don't really crave it, especially not to that degree, so I skipped tasting that one. The other flavors were: Mango-Banana, Honey Almond, Tiramisu, and Key Lime-Coconut-and-White Chocolate.

    Per your suggestion, I ended up taking a port wine (Sandalman was the maker) and an Irish meade. The meade beautifully complemented the Honey Almond cheesecake, which was my favorite.

    (But I will admit, by the end of the night all I really craved was a cup of bitter black coffee. And I don't usually drink my coffee black.) :)

  10. Wow, the cheesecake party sounds amazing, I'm so craving cheesecake right now :) I can well imagine the mead beautyful with the Honey Almond cheesecake, and I'd guess the chocolate one being the best match for the port.