The Long and Winding Pinot Road, Part XII
After 53 issues sent out in a one to two page format, the PinotFile took on a four page newsletter look in June of
2002. In one of the early newsletters, I wrote a feature titled, “Lust and Pinot,” reproduced here.
Pinot’s powerful smells can bring men and women together, and maybe that is why God invented wine. Wine
is powerful both from the effects of alcohol, and from the smell. There are only four basic tastes, but the average
person can perceive thousands of different smells (some very sensitive noses can detect up to 10,000).
Hundreds of different smells from organic compounds have been identified in wine.
The olfactory glands in the nose are directly connected to our frontal lobes in the brain which do most of our
serious mental work as well as functioning as the emotional part of our brain. Smells, then, can set off very powerful
memories and feelings and help unlock natural urges. When combined with the psychological effects of
alcohol, smells can turn any plain mousy blond into Madonna.
Research has suggested that the pheromones in certain grape varieties, especially Pinot Noir, are very similar
to human sex pheromones. All of the smells in the Pinot Noir grape such as spice, earth, and musk are smells
associated with the principal male smell, andosterone. The key female smells are thiethylamine and isovaleric
acid which are characterized by fish and cheese odors respectively. Australia’s randiest winemaker, Max Lake,
once suggested that isovaleric acid can be simulated in Champagne and soft cheeses.
What all of this proves is what we have know for years: Champagne and Burgundy will get you a sure thing. If it
wasn’t for all of those pheromones and wine, we probably would still be apes.
To be continued… ...