How Does Wine Relate to Our Sense of Touch?

Tasting notes often include words relating to our tactile sense—silky, firm, muscular or brambly. We look at 8 fabrics and the types of wine they represent.
Styling by Julia Lea

All our senses delight in wine. Long before we smell and taste, both ear and eye have already taken pleasure. The popping of a cork, the fizz of a sparkler or the first glugs from a bottle add to our enjoyment. Then there is texture: the tactile experience of wine.

Sensory scientists have long championed the importance of texture in food. A proper crunch heightens the experience of eating potato chips, while a melting mouthfeel is as important to chocolate as cocoa itself.

We all know this in food—we almost take it for granted. But in wine, our flavor and taste perceptions often override tactile stimuli, which is a pity when some wines ripple like folds of silk across the palate or crunch like starched linen. Texture is most obvious in the tannic structure of red wines, but it exists in every wine: the brisk slenderness of a crisp Riesling, the smooth roundedness of an oaked Chardonnay, the lively froth of Prosecco, the creaminess of vintage Champagne, the viscous richness of Sauternes.

I almost invariably refer to textiles to describe a wine’s texture. To run your hand across rolls of fabric to feel their weave and quality is not that different than tasting a wine. Textiles convey not only that caress of material on skin, but also give an accurate sense of weight and density, sometimes even color. Think in these terms, and your tasting experience will be enhanced.

Wine bottles and textiles
Styling by Julia Lea

WhiteButton1Billowing, translucent chiffon is as weightless and subtle as blanc de blancs Champagne.

WhiteButton2The breezy, fine netting of tulle recalls the frothy, exciting fizz of fruity Prosecco.

WhiteButton3Pliable, supple and utterly versatile: Dry rosé has a lot in common with stylish satin.

Your Illustrated Guide to Pairing Fashion and Wine
Textiles and wine bottles
Styling by Julia Lea

WhiteButton4The firmness, durability and crunch of Sangiovese is also characteristic of twill, as is some of its appealing rusticity.

WhiteButton5The sheen, structure, and evident complexity: Nothing says classified-growth Bordeaux like carmine brocade.

WhiteButton6The soft ply of thick velvet is as warming and sumptuous as classic Australian Shiraz, as luxuriant as mature Napa Cabernet.

WhiteButton7Gold lamé has the same sinuous flow, thrill and sheen as a mature, sweet, luxurious Sauternes.

WhiteButton8Brilliance of tiny silver sequins is so evocative of Riesling eiswein: It has both sleekness and acidic crackle.

Published on April 4, 2017
Topics: Wine & Fashion
About the Author
Anne Krebiehl MW
Contributing Editor

Reviews wines from Austria, Alsace and England

German-born but London-based, Anne Krebiehl MW is a freelance wine writer contributing to international wine publications. She also lectures, consults and translates and has helped to make wine in New Zealand, Germany and Italy. She adores acidity in wine and is thus perfectly suited to her Austria/Alsace/England beat. Her particular weaknesses are Pinot Noir, Riesling and traditional-method sparkling wines.

Email: akrebiehl@wineenthusiast.net.



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