I was born in Burgundy, a “son of the vine”, into a family that has always nurtured a passion for wine. Our everyday red was deep-hued and unforgettably fruity. As it was often my job to draw off the wine, plunging the pipe into the cask to fill the pitcher, I began to perceive its flavour at a very young age. I learned to taste as I learned to walk!
I should like my love for wine to reach out to you through the pages of this book. It has won me many friends with whom I have shared my discoveries. One day, the artist Henri Cueco suggested I communicate my passion to a wider audience.
So I began to introduce wine into cultural centres as a work of art, in the same way as music or painting. In 1978, I started the first wine-tasting classes for beginners at the Maison de la Culture in Chalon-sur-Saône. These meetings fuelled our enthusiasm and raised many questions about taste and the sense of smell.
Encouraged by another artist, Daniel Spoerri, and his idea of creating a “book-object” (book-cum-work of art), I invented Le Nez du Vin®. My aim was to awaken a necessary sense of curiosity for odours in my readers and to help them recognize the aromas found in wine.
Using a mixture of words and scents, I have endeavoured to provide both professionals and amateurs with key knowledge about aromas that characterize different wines. Le Nez du Vin® has given them the appropriate words for describing wine and thereby facilated communication between wine lovers.
I hope that this encounter with the world of aromas will open the door to your own private scent memories. There is nothing like the whiff of a certain smell to whisk you back to childhood. There you are once again, standing in that wheat field just after the harvest; or you might be breathing in the baking smells of your grandmother’s kitchen and there she is in her apron, smiling down at you. It brings it all back. The scent sets the film of your life rolling again.
Jean Lenoir, 1981