The five senses

Les 5 sens utilisés pour la dégustation de vin….To wake the palate up from the anaesthetic by the work of a second art. Which meets sensitive aesthetics, in the work of other aesthetics, artistic….
The oppressed taste, locally too close, to the language, too much of a twin or a competitor, is rarely well spoken, expresses itself in a language that tends to be laughable , whose mouth laughs, as if the language on its own accord would not let it speak. A mouth gets rid of another, the mouth of the speech excludes the mouth of the taste, evicts it from the speech….
Before drinking a good wine, nobody has tasted the wine , smelt it , therefore knows it, has no chance of ever knowing it. This one has been able to drink, to be drunk, new anaesthetic. But for the one who has not tasted nor smelt it, the knowledge has not come. Speaking is not worth sapience, the first language needs the second one .

Michel Serres (1930)


However our senses can be educated while appreciating the value of a growth.
The new visit will therefore focus on art and culture.
” I like the wine and its taste. How to talk about it is my main interrogation. Why and how do we like a particular bottle? Tasting wine means sharing but I think it is almost impossible to talk about wine” Jonathan Nossiter ( Jonathan Nossiter , sommelier and film director, his film Mondovino , that came out in 2004 had a great success.)
Wine is first of all, a sensory and sensual pleasure, the expression of a culture and a civilisation.
When you travel, you can ” feel” the landscapes; in front of a glass you can feel the product and everything that is behind it.
Taste is a personal freedom.

Definition of the new wine tasting : the five senses

The explanations during the wine tasting are more focused on art and culture: the château, the vineyard, the wineries, the cellars, the vinification and the ageing. The wine tasting unfolds in a flexible way and applies to our five senses. To understand the value of the ” Cru”.


The guide is an expert in wine and art.
This type of event is organised by arts and wines amateurs and professionals.
The goals of the new wine tasting are to discover the vineyard, to gain knowledge about yesterday’s and today’s vinification, to incite visitors to taste, to make them understand all the work that has gone through to have a quality wine and to hand over to them the fascination linked to the wine.

As a wine expert, the national conference guide is capable to do a wine tasting session that is unusual. Versatile and passionate about art, he has a good general knowledge. His knowledge of languages and his sense in welcoming are appreciated by visitors. He adjusts his wine tasting according to the people of each group.


Since 2003, Marc Laforêt, on of the greatest french pianists, has created a prestigious summer festival in the Bordeaux region, gathering high standard solo artists.

Linking the love of music to the love of the “Grands Crus Classés”, here is the vocation of the festival “Grands Crus Musicaux”

Creating a great wine , sight-reading a partition or working out a work of art , raise the same worry about perfection , commun sensitivity and equal sense of aesthetics .
This year, in 2007, concerts followed by wine tasting, took place in unusual and magic places like Château Canon, Saint Emilion, Château Yquem, Sauternes.
The international musical meetings in the Graves area are baroque and classical concerts – wine tastings.
Around Saint Emilion, the Jazz and Wine festival offers concerts and wine tasting in the heart of different wine estates.

In 2003, during the 50th anniversary of the acquisition of ” Mouton “by the Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild, a festive meal took place under a marquee in the park of the Château, followed by beautiful fireworks.

A large number of famous people were there and Placido Domingo’s arrival was also a big surprise.

A lot of composers wrote some music for the meal and the party. It is also possible to associate the tasting of a dish with a work of art. For the pleasurable combination “wine -music ” the link between both of them would have to be identified.
Here is an analogy between the wine and Michel Staib’ s piano ( Revues des deux Mondes, 2000), president of the oenophile club ” the 3 V” ( vin ( wine ), vie (life), volupté ( delight):
” The vine grower and the pianist both, with their own passion have to move people with a base, which is the soil for the vine grower and the partition for the pianist”
The pianist has the same issues when he plays a musical work. The partition like the soil, makes the basic data.
The pianist has to hand over his emotions, his sensitivity by his touch, by the chosen tempo, but at the same time respecting the spirit of the musical work like the vine grower does with his soil .
The vine growers distinguish themselves by their technics, their passion. To appreciate, to like wine, you have to ” touch” it, enter into the process of the wine making .
It is better to know the wine grower of the wine you taste: visit his wine cellars, have a walk in his vineyards, listen to his story.
You just have to let your emotions go through your fingers. It is no longer necessary to describe the wine metaphorically or with professional terms.
The pianist Michel Staib tries to taste some wine while playing the piano.

3-  The Tasting

Our senses are the instruments to our perception, that means the link with the outside world and that allows us to recognise, thanks to the interpretation given by the thought and the knowledge, the information, like the quality of a good wine.

The usual wine tasting

The usual way to taste wine includes three consecutive phases.
the visual phase, the olfactive phase and the gustatory phase.


The visual phase includes the analysis of the colour. It is an indicator of the age of the wine. Throughout the maturation process of the wine, it changes colour and reflections, consecutively to the phenomenon of oxidation.

A young red wine has a colour rather purple almost blue.
With maturing its colour changes towards yellow with brown or orange reflections.

The density of the wine colour explains his consistency linked to the way of the vinification, which means the extraction of the tannins during the fermentation phase.
A wine with a strong density is well built, if it has a weak density its structure is light.
Another visual caracteristic is the clarity, the lack of cloudiness in the wine
The sparkle shows quite a liveliness in the wine, due to the acidity in it.
A shining sparkle confers a young personality to the wine, a dull sparkle is rather a sign of a wine maturing.



The “nose of the wine”,means that these are the different aromas that come out of it, defined by the intensity and the quality.
We can find in the wine :
The primary aromas : these are the aromas from different grape varieties
The secondary aromas : aromas created in the wine during the fermentations.
The tertiary aromas : they appear during the ageing. or during the maturing in the bottle.
All these aromas make a complex mix which blend and harmonise together once bottled to form the bouquet.



The flavour of the wine can be split in four tastes :
The sugar is defined by a nice feeling, of roundness and fat.
The perception of salt is relatively rare in the wine. It is a slightly spicy and irritating personality.
The acidity expresses itself by a biting or spicy personality and by an impression of tightening on the sides of the tongue towards the central area
In the quality wines the bitterness is quite rare.
It is a sore, persistent and unpleasant impression together with a certain dryness.
The tongue is the main organ of the taste. It is coverered in taste buds.These buds are bundled and located in designated areas of the tongue.
The tasting perceptions give birth to balances in the wine . These balances change according to the nature of the wine: The interaction between the acidity and the sweetness or between the acidity and the tannic character.


The wine tasting with the five senses

For a wine tasting that eases the perception of the wine and that helps to find the pleasure to enjoy a “Grand Cru”, both senses like the touch and the hearing are added to the usual tasting.


Le toucherTOUCHING

The touch provides information through the skin on the surface of the objects. The skin has two layers, its thickness goes from one to four millimetres depending on the parts of the body. The skin is very elastic, which allows a certain elasticity. Sensations of the touch are brought out by the skin: tactile (recognition of textures), thermal (the heat and the cold), or even emotional (pain, sensuality).
Here are some examples of how we can describe the different characters of a wine with the sensation of touch: tactile and recognition of textures.


Recognition of the aromas by the texture

Reconnaissance des arômes par la texture

The aromatic families and the aromas

Balsamic : pinetree, pine
Mineral : flint, gravels, ash
Oaky : Oak wood, chestnut
Vegetal : undergrowth, wet soil, moss

Recognition of the taste by the texture

Acute – fresh – nervous – flat – hard – hollow – smooth – bitter – harsh – intense – expressive – harmonious – structured –hearty– amazing – stiff – stretched – fleshy – strong – ferm – robust – velvety – silky – sweet



The audition is the ability to hear sounds.It arises from cross sectional waves spreading in the atmosphere issued in a frequency ranging from 20 to 20 000 Hertz, then received and adjusted by the hearing organ , the ear. The auricle of the outer ear focuses and amplifies the wave that goes through the ear and makes the eardrum vibrating. Then it is transmitted by the ossicles up to the inner ear. The sound is transmitted to the brain by the nervous cell to the inside of the cochlea and the acoustic nerve.
It is then analysed ,and put in relation with the specificities of a wine.
The pianist , Michel Staib, who knows this wine for its power and its agreement with red meat, chooses a red wine, Bandol de Pibarnon 1990, for his Sonata n°8, “Pathétique” from Beethoven.
The Bandol has a dark robe , almost black.
« I can imagine the power , my hands lay on the keyboard and tackle strongly the first chord of the introductory deep sound from the Sonata. This contracted and jerky introduction will reappear twice during the first movement . It will remind me and will show the imposing robe of this Bandol all along the wine tasting . Red fruits appear, density of the robe , what a complexity!
The four bars remind us of the deep sound and end with a double piano, suddenly disturbed by the theme of the allegro that explodes in double strength five chords. I close my eyes and at that moment , swallow the wine . Like the chords , it is a fulfillment of aromas that covers the palate. Their persistency extends for more than eight seconds .Beautiful long on the palate …, and everything fades away »
Michel Douence (Michel Douence : Mille vins note à note), musician and enologist, explains: « It is all about tasting wine with ears, and most of all to talk about it differently. In an œnologist language , we often use the same metaphores linked to the fruits.»
He compares Pauillac wine with the ” Ode à la joie ” from Ludwig van Beethoven.

Some characters of the Primeur Mouton Rothschild 2006 – Musical description from Michel Douens

Deep robe : patterned- recitative
Powerful Bouquett : heavy choir
Complexity : strict counterpoint
Delicacy : triangle
Red Fruits : fugue
Blackcurrant liqueur : roundness of the deep chords
Mixture of body and style : arpeggio played with a cello
Longevity : hymn
Splendour : musical peak
Magnificent : universal musical genius