The Grace of a Wine

ballet dancerAlfonso Cevola’s post The Valuable and Unanticipated Lessons Ballet Taught Me about Wine has a good deal of insight.

In discussing the port de bras (carriage of the arms) in ballet, he writes:

How little we talk about the gracefulness of a wine. But if it is lacking, one notices it without a doubt.

Does wine move? Of course, it moves through us, as we take it in. And therein is where one notes how well a particular wine might carry out its port de bras. Moreover, though is the feeling it leaves with us. It is rough? Is it smooth? Is it caustic? Is it mellow? Is it rich? Is it balanced?

The manner in which a wine carries out its “port de bras,” its movement across the palate, is crucial to wine quality. But aside from brief mentions of texture or mouthfeel, most tasting notes have little to say about it.

We have aroma wheels with over 100 aromas on them, yet only 5 or 6 words to describe mouthfeel and no consistent discussion of the wine’s movement and the changes it undergoes from entry point through the finish.

Many wines are graceful but how they achieve that grace is an important dimension of a wine’s distinctiveness just as the great ballet dancers have a distinctive way of coordinating arm and leg movements.

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