The Vines of Mendoza

The Vines Sommelier- a perfume master


Nez du vin

Mariana Onofri, The Vines of Mendoza's very talented (and famous, check out our episode on 3 Sheets) sommelier is constantly refining her techniques and senses. Recently she attended a course based on aromas, centered around perfumes. As anyone knows, it is important to refine your vocabulary sufficiently to impress even the most knowledgeable taster. Here she describes her experience.


The French perfumer, Alexandre Schmitt, who works at the Bordeaux Faculty of Enology teaching enologists from prestigious wineries and wine professionals on the facets of olfaction in Spain, France and United States and now Mendoza. Thanks to The Vines of Mendoza, I had the great privilege of being part of a selected group of participants.

Schmitt works as a consultant to Jean-Claude Berrouet (Taransaud Barrels, Château Pétrus, Lafleur-Pétrus, Trotanoy, Magdeleine), Château d'Yquem, Château Margaux, Tim Mondavi, Geneviève Janssens (Robert Mondavi Winery), Michael Silacci (Opus One), Marimar Torres (Miguel Torres wineries), Kendall Jackson, among others.

He has been called the "Guard of the Essences", the "Nose of the World", and according to his words: "the smelling sessions are a new tool for winemakers, which offers the possibility to develop the sensitivity of our sense of smell and to record in our memory a large amount of aromas." Evidently, the extent of our aromatic knowledge is related to the degree of our immersion in this universe.

Before learning to appreciate aromas in wine, original aromas must be recognized through an isolated reference used to give an intense and exact mark on mind. The idea is to structure our smelling universe and there is no other way to do it.

It was amazing to notice how intense can it be this simple act of smelling. After analyzing more than 95 aromas presented in wine, we felt exhausted… but at the same time we felt our nose was awake!!

It is clear that through a constant, and guided smelling practice we can acquire a deeper knowledge of the aromatic descriptors of wine. But I also realized that it is essential to practice daily with the thousand of aromas we usually have around us in our every day life: while making coffee every morning, when cooking, gardening, walking in the park, when buying flowers…

Smell more… enjoy more…enhance your wine experience!!
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