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3 minutes reading time (533 words)

Catch the Wine Bouquet

From the September Issue of The Laurel of Asheville

By Gina Trippi

Weddings are about the bouquet. But not just the one the bride carries. The bouquet of the wines also creates memories.

In a 2004 study, Dr. Rachel Herz at Brown University found that women showed more brain activity when smelling a perfume with which they associated a positive memory than when smelling the control perfume. The brain activity associated with the memorable perfume was also greater than that produced by the visual cue of seeing the bottle of perfume.

More recently, Psychology Today reported in 2015 that a number of behavioral studies have demonstrated that smells trigger more vivid emotional memories and are better at inducing the feeling of “being brought back in time” than images.

These findings were supported by the work of Dr. Ken Heilman, distinguished professor of Neurology and Health Psychology at University of Florida.

“Smell goes into the emotional parts of the brain and the memory parts, whereas words go into thinking parts of the brain,” says Heilman. “When you smell things, you remember your emotions.”

Why argue with science? Increase the memories of your wedding or any special occasion with aromatic wines.

The French white grape, Viognier, presents natural aromatics described as perfume including chamomile, lavender, peach and violets. And the Italian white grape from Langhe, Arneis, is a sensory sensation. Arneis offers an intense bouquet of peach, acacia flowers, chamomile and melon.

Red grapes can be memory makers too. Consider Monastrell, a particularly aromatic grape from Spain. A bottle of Juan Gil Silver Label Monastrell makes memories with aromas of blackberry, cherry cola, candied violet and just a hint of vanilla and black pepper.

But no grape beats Frappato, the red grape indigenous to Sicily, for pungent aromas. A glass of Frappato brings intoxicating aromas of raspberry, red cherry, roses and lavender.

A rose is always aromatic but the particular scents depend on the varietal from which the wine was made. A rose made from the French grape, Cinsault, presents strawberry and red cherry along with floral notes and a wave of perfume on the nose. A well-done wedding menu pairs the wine to the food. But you could consider choosing a wine that not only works with the foods but also invokes the aromas of the wedding flowers for a total sensory experience.

According to Wine Folly, an educational wine blog, you will find a complex set of floral scents, especially rose, in red wines including Pinot Noir, Grenache, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Monastrell and Tempranillo. White flowers are present in white wines including Pinot Gris, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Blanc and Sémillon.

But what about Asheville? Are we smelling the roses? “Wedding clients are beginning to really focus on their wine selections,” says Heidi Perrone, event planner at Cordial and Craft, a local event production company. “Wines are becoming the focus of the table and couples are seeking choices not just in terms of taste but the look of the bottle and, yes, even the aromas!”

Gina Trippi is the co-owner of Metro Wines, 169 Charlotte Street in Asheville. Committed to the community, Metro Wines offers big shop selection with small shop service. Gina can be reached atgina@metrowinesasheville.com or 828.575.9525.

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