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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > September 2016 > Wine

Wine

How to use your nose

How important is the sense of smell to our experience of wines? We know that a large part of what we call taste is in fact due to smell. The tongue’s receptors only provide information about taste: sweet, sour, salt, bitter and umami. Wine critics will talk about notes of melon and pineapple in Chardonnay and the licorice and cherry character of Chianti, but we don’t have melon or pineapple, licorice or cherry receptors on our tongues. Our experience of fruit flavours is largely due to smell. Yet those fruity flavours are experienced as if coming from the tongue. Yet it is the brain that combines the taste, touch and smell, and fuses them into a single, unified experience of flavour. It is this integrated working of the brain that experts try to unpick, with only some success, when tasting professionally.

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In Prospect’s September issue: Paul Johnson argues that there is no getting away from the fact our economic prospects have got worse post-Brexit. Paul Wallace attempts to outline how the government will try and deal with that situation, while Nicolas Véron suggests that The City of London will decline outside the European Union. On a brighter note, Clive James explores what we can learn from the television show Mad Men. Also in this issue: Patience Wheatcroft, the Conservative peer, suggests that Brexit might not be a done deal with a rebellion in the Lords possible. Thomas Chatterton Williams explores the work and Beyoncé and argues that black artists are failing to say anything profound and James Dyson outlines how he would rule the world.
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