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Wine Idle Science

The Physics of Wine Swirling 98 98

sciencehabit writes "Meet the new flavor of wine: fruity with a hint of fluid dynamics. Oenophiles have long gotten the best out of their reds by giving their glasses a swirl before sipping. A new study has revealed the physics behind that sloshing, showing that three factors may determine whether your merlot arcs smoothly or starts to splash. The researchers also landed on another important discovery: how overly enthusiastic wine swirlers manage to splash their drinks, possibly staining their sweaters."
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The Physics of Wine Swirling

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @05:26PM (#38152610)
    Before the inevitable ridicule, the reason the wine is swirled is to get the aroma into the air inside the glass, enhancing flavor perception. As an analogy imagine taking a shit. You plop one, it stinks real bad for a while but then it gets better. Then you drop another, this stirs up the water and brings the stink back again for a bit.
  • by Burdell (228580) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @05:46PM (#38152828)

    Don't you mean box?

  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @05:56PM (#38152948) Journal
    Developing the nose of the wine is one reason to swirl the wine, albeit a very small one.

    The real reason to swirl is if the wine hasn't been aerated sufficiently. Red wines in particular (to varying degree depending on varietal, age, etc) have a high concentration of tannins, which are responsible for the astringency of the wine. Aeration of the wine will oxidize the tannins, reducing their astringency.

    Aeration will also mellow the other flavors via oxidation. I have found that a lot of people who say "I only like white wine" are actually just not a fan of the tannins in red wine. Proper aeration after uncorking often results in them liking red wines, especially if I choose a fruitier varietal.

    Good wine snobs will test the nose of the wine (e.g., sniff it), then taste it. If it's too astringent to properly enjoy, they'll either let the glass sit for a while, or swirl the glass to aerate the wine.
  • by alex67500 (1609333) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @08:43PM (#38154412)

    November 23rd, 2011. This is the day xkcd replaced wikipedia as the central source of knowledge :-)

Gosh that takes me back... or is it forward? That's the trouble with time travel, you never can tell." -- Doctor Who, "Androids of Tara"