jamie goode's wine blog: Smelling gorse

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Smelling gorse

I'm obsessed with taste and smell, to the point that I sniff things quite a bit. I took RTL for a walk on Hounslow Heath this weekend to find that gorse was in flower (it almost always seems to be in flower, at least a bit), so I sniffed one of the flowers. They have the most amazing smell of coconut. [Picture above was taken with my mobile phone camera.]

The world of aromas is one that, to a degree, is closed to us. We traded a whole stack of our olfactory ability for trichromatic vision some time back in evolutionary history. We don't have functional vomeronasal organs (which detect pheromones); many of our olfactory receptor genes are pseudogenes. As a result, I reckon we have to make a special effort to work on our ability to detect and recognize smells. Even then, it's clear that RTL experiences a spatial smell landscape that I just don't get.

In some ways, it has been a strange weekend here in West London. Saturday was lovely and spring-like, and Sunday also started that way. But then just after lunch the wind started, and then the rain. It was horrible. Just as we thought spring was really on the way, we've had another reminder of winter.

Busy week ahead. Off to Denbies tomorrow for final planning of http://www.sparklingwinesymposium.com/. Then on Tuesday there's the Tesco Press tasting, the Portuguese tasting and the Caballeros dinner. I have a 06.30 flight to Portugal on Wednesday, where I stay until Friday. Two articles to write, as well.



At 10:03 AM, Anonymous Martin Jones said...

I've made the gorse-coconut connection too Jamie and find it fascinating that they smell so similar. But we say that gorse smells of coconut, not the other way around.

One of the first things I was taught in wine-tasting classes was that it was important that the individual taster learns to associate smells/flavours with grapes and that it doesn't matter what terms you apply, as long as you make the association. So for me chardonnay is always freshly washed hair and zinc oxide plaster. Not that I mention that in group tastings lol.

At 12:03 PM, Blogger Wine Splodge said...

I've added them to salads before and they look incredible on top of pizza. The coconut scent is pronounced but I've always thought they taste a little like bananas. Apparently, like dandelions, people make "wine" from them too:

At 4:38 PM, Anonymous Doug said...

Gorse and broom are aromas found especially in associative tasting notes of certain Med varieties such as Rolle and Biancolella.

The generic wine which tends to elicit the largest number of (fanciful) descriptors from me is good Chateauneuf. Despite its power there are so many nuances from the different grapes - it all gets the memory juices flowing.

At 12:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should read "Perfume" by Patrick Suskind. Amazing descriptions of sensory perception, especially those of the olfactory kind.

At 6:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally i have found someone who has also made the gorse-coconut connection. I think they smell beautiful. I have alos noticed a particular conifer tree has a similar scent. I wonder if a gorse perfume is a good idea or if the plant has actually got any skincare properties? I found a site selling gorse tree perfume but dont know if it will smell like the plant. If anyone has any more info i would be interested in hearing it. Carrina http://www.yournaturalbeautystore.com


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