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Stop Shaking

Updated: Feb 21, 2022

I hope this is not illness! After drinking wine for over ten years, I often unconsciously swirl my glass if it has a stem, even if it is only water. During a visit to the infamous Vapolicella area of Northeastern Italy, we visited a traditional Amarone winery and walked down the underground cellar with its owner. In addition to tasting Amarone that was aging, there were also collections of some ten vintage wines from the owner’s private cellar. Yet something was strange. It might just be Root Day, or there was not enough time for the wine to breathe, while the textures were delicate and silky, all wines seemed to be asleep however hard we tried to swirl. I put down my glass, but my friends felt defeated and kept swirling in hope to release their aromas, because the Amarone of 1980s should exhibit strong fruity and floral fragrance.

All of a sudden, his glass cracked and the wine was all spilled, and the fragrance “finally” filled the room. Looking at this embarrassing situation had me thinking, is swirling an ideal way to release the fragrance of wine?

After the owner’s wife was done with the cleaning, we returned to the small wooden table. And then voila! Three meters away, a strong aroma of wine wafted out from a row of glasses with old wine. The sweet aroma of dried fruits, salty minerals, and the gorgeous aroma of dried petals came out one by one. There is no need to swirl at all. When you give it time, the aroma would naturally fill the glass and gradually diffuse out in the air. This often occurs in delicate or old wines. The aroma in the wine glass would disappear when we unconsciously swirl the wine. Hence when it comes to savoring the fragrance and tasting wine, "Don't swirl!" This is very important because only by waiting can the moment of elegance hidden in the wine be preserved.

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