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Wine Tasting - The Sense of Smell

There are a few very important things to note when we "nose" a wine. It is suggested to first smell the wine before swirling, noticing the delicate aromas. Next, swirl the wine and smell again after it is at rest. Depending on the bouquet, you may then notice a profound difference in the odors emerging. Aroma is a smell that originates from the actual grape, with very clear cut characteristics. Aroma is most prevalent in young wines. The bouquet of a wine refers to smells generated as a result of aging; smells found particularly in mature wines that were aged in a bottle. The bouquet generally has much softer and complex characteristics than aromas. Identifying what you smell is usually the most challenging part in wine tasting. Although there are many smell categories used to describe characteristics of wine, none have been exclusively agreed upon.


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Decadence Cake – Earl Grey Infused
Recipe courtesy of Brix Restaurant, Yountville, CA
6 servings

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate (cocoa block)
4 1/2 ounces Bittersweet chocolate, Felchlin
Maracaibo 65%

3 fluid ounces strong Earl Grey Tea
1/4 cup sugar
4 1/2 ounces unsalted butter

3 eggs
1/4 ounce sugar

1. Chop and combine chocolates in a large bowl. Bring tea and sugar to a boil and pour over chocolate, stir until melted, stir in butter. Return to a double boiler if necessary
2. Combine eggs, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl and whip to soft ribbons
3. Fold eggs into chocolate mixture
4. Pour into 6 buttered and sugared ramekins or loaf pans
***Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight
5. Bake at 325*F in a waterbath until set. It will look like a crème brulee. Approximately 30-40 minutes
6. Chill 4 hours or overnight
7. To Unmold: place ramekin in hot water and invert onto a tray lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper.
8. Return to fridge until ready to serve

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