I don’t how long the question has been around about what direction you should swirl your wine, probably longer than I think, but it is interesting. This idea starting circulating around Napa via Twitter and here it is in a nutshell. When you swirl your wine to the left (counter clockwise) the scent you pick up is from the barrels over the grapes, what we call the spice shelf. When you swirl the wines to the right (clockwise) you pick up more flavors from the fruit.
I’ve shown this to clients in the tasting room and experimented with it myself and found it to be true, and especially noticeable with wines that have spent significant time in newer oak barrels. The question comes up, why is that? Now, as a master herbalist and aroma-therapist, and as someone who has lectured extensively on natural health, anatomy and physiology I know a thing or two about plants, and how people perceive them. So, based upon what I know about how living cells function, these are my insights.
Like all living things wine cells have a magnetic polarity, just like humans and the Earth. The positive pole is more highly charged, just like the North Pole of the Earth, which is why there are Northern Lights in the Arctic Circle, but not Southern Lights in the Antarctic. This polarity tends to keep wine cells generally upright, spinning on their axis when they are being swirled. This magnetic action within a liquid is commonly demonstrated in laboratories. Because plant molecules are mostly liquid, when they form they are also subject to the electromagnetic forces that are a component of the rotation of the Earth. As a result, the pores on the surface of the molecules develop based on that rotation, like the shingles on a roof.
When you swirl the wine counter-clockwise you are pushing against the molecules nap, just like stroking the fur of a cat the wrong way, this dislodges anything on the surface. Since the flavor from the barrel is introduced fairly late in the wine's development it tends to concentrate in the outer layers. When you swirl the wine counter-clockwise it dislodges that flavor, while at the same, pushing liquid into the pores, inhibiting the fruit flavors that are inside the cell from coming out.
In comparison, when you swirl the wine clockwise the pressure of the surrounding fluid forces the fruit flavors out through the pores. It also pushes any flavors concentrated on the surface down onto the skin of the molecule. The fact that the wine is alive, electrically charged, and still changing is why this happens. So, when you swirl the wine to the right or left think of it as if you are stroking your favorite pet. Sometimes they like it rough, but mostly they like it smooth. - Ralph de Amicis,
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