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How wine evokes memories


I read this beautifully written article from Celia Bryan-Brown and was reminded how aromas and wine evoke memories which have been imbedded somewhere in the crevice of your brain. You believe these memories to be lost, but then a sound, aroma and often a wine draws them back into the forefront.
Worth a read :smiley:



That’s a really nice article! Thanks for sharing :smile:

I get the same reaction with perfumes. I absolutely love wearing perfumes and there are a number of them that evoke such crystal-clear memories whenever I get a sniff of them - it never ceases to amaze me how this reaction completely by-passes words, and generates a very specific memory/feeling.


I can rarely drink a German Riesling kabinett without holiday memories, of sitting by the Rhine or Mosel drinking the same, being evoked.

Music can do the same too. Usually evoking childhood memories, that hadn’t come to mind since that time, with amazing clarity and vividness.


That’s so true!

To me, the beauty of smell/wine/music evoking these vivid memories is the way they are almost instant- so are not corrupted by a narrative (in counselling we talk about ‘historical truth’ vs ‘narrative truth’ when clients tell us about their childhood memories, for example). These evoked memories are almost ‘pure’ in my opinion. Quite unlike the ‘stories’ we tell about memories, where we can embellish, construct and beautify, depending on the occasion.


Sometimes i doubt my memory and I’m sure my recollection of certain things isn’t necessarily ‘true’. It’s more an amalgam of different memories coalescing into one that bears some relation to fact but in reality is a construct on my part.

I love your expression ‘pure memory’. That’s what I sometimes get with music. I have a record made with mechanical musical boxes that takes me straight back to childhood playing with my mothers musical jewellery box in our house in Hertford. I can picture the house, the view out of the window, the furnishings, etc. I guess the memory was there buried in my subconscious all the time it just needed something to draw it out.


Sorry Inbar, I meant to reply directly, please see above.


Nice read.

I’ve commented on here before - I log the wines I drink into my ‘mind library / palace’. I try to link the aromas, tastes etc with the time and place I’m drinking them. So when I drink them again I am transported back to that first tasting


This sounds like such a lovely memory! :grinning:

We can fill whole threads with musings on the tricky side of memory. To have a picture in one’s head - evoked by music, or a smell - is so different to relaying the memory. It always seems to me that as soon as we start telling of a memory, we start corrupting it. A picture in one’s head is worth a thousand words, perhaps… :slight_smile:


What’s that?! Sounds fascinating! :thinking:

I log all the wines we drink in a little black booklet, and always include the weather, the mood we’re in, and if anything significant had happened that day - only a couple of lines, but it does help. Having said that - with some wines, it proves unnecessary - just seeing the name in the log book is all the transporting I need.


you link the activity or item to be remembered to location, events, people and contain it within your memory

In my case its linking the wine to the aromas, tastes etc to the bottle / label / place / people etc so It’s almost have like I have lots of little books with a pic of the bottle on the door. So will go to the room with “France” on the door, then to the shelf marked “Bordeaux” (you can keep sub-catagorization to a level you are happy with) then when I open the book with the relevant label on it I can retrieve the information on the wine.

Simple :wink: lots of practice to use it and doesn’t work on the nth tasting of the night {hic}

Cant remember what I had for breakfast mind you !


It’s a fascinating subject with all sorts of ramifications.

@inbar’s comment on perfumes (scent having massive overlap with taste) reminded me that evocation of memory is a big thing in the niche perfumery market right now. You can get scents like this one -

  • and there are even ranges that turn the idea on its head, and crank out some far-fetched narrative, then build a fragrance on it! The perfume range called “Imaginary Authors” does this, mercifully with a tongue firmly in cheek.

I don’t think there is any direct equivalent in the world of wine, but the business of “telling stories” in order to sell a particular wine is nothing new, and has been growing.