Thursday, January 5, 2012

It's All in the Swirl

In my mind, it doesn't sound very glamourous when physicists refer to the very elegant gesture of expertly swirling a nice wine in a crystal goblet as "orbital shaking", but experts in the field of fluid mechanics report that's what it takes to release the bouquet so that we can differentiate between exquisite wines and those that don't quite make the grade.
According to a recent study released by scientists a the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, the swirling process makes a wave in the glass that churns the wine, pulls in oxygen and ultimately intensifies the smell. And that's what we're experiencing after giving our glass the oh-so pretentious swirl, as the waiter or waitress anxiously waits on the sideline for a "thumbs-up". Without going into the details of the glass shape, shaking diameter, rotation speed, oxygenation or bioreactors, we can safely conclude that the end results of swirling the glass benefit our tasting experience.