Have you ever wondered why a baguette tastes so much better in Paris than one from even your finest local bakery? Or why your memory recalls the wine from your favorite winery visit tasting better at the winery than that same bottle at your dining table? Was it the curated presentation at the winery or the enchantment of the moment that contributed to the memory of that delicious taste? As a scientist, psychologist, and admirer of wine, I have pondered this mystery over countless bottles.

And as it turns out, it is a combination of science, psychology, and a bit of knowledge of presentation that likely contributes to the memory of the enhanced taste and experience of the baguette or wine.

“Aromas and memory seem to be closely linked.”

It is believed that 80 percent of what humans perceive as taste comes from our eyes and nose. Consider what it is like when you suffer from a head cold with a completely stuffed nose. Nothing has flavor—except for chicken soup, of course. It turns out that smells are handled by the olfactory bulb, a part of the forebrain that sends signals to the limbic system for further processing. Aromas take a direct route to the limbic system, including the amygdala and hippocampus, which are regions related to emotion and memory. Therefore, aromas and memory seem to be closely linked as a result of the anatomy of the brain. Ah, it’s all starting to make sense!

Our engaging presentation at the winery is based on our knowledge of how to best prepare and serve the wine for optimal expression. Through experience, we know the proper temperature at which our wines will taste best. Additionally, every bottle tasted at the winery is opened in advance and allowed to breathe for just the right amount of time to showcase the finest aromas and flavors the wines have to offer. Based on what is best suited for each varietal, we also carefully select the style and feel of the glass to be functional and comfortable in the hand. Collectively, temperature, aeration, and stemware work together to elevate the wine experience.

Now, the eyes. Before the wine even touches the palate, study the vivid color and clarity of the nectar, and watch the legs gently creep down like teardrops inside the bowl of the wineglass, imprinting a sense of desire for what you are about to taste. Following a gentle swirl to further aerosolize the liquid, and with closed eyes, the inhalation of the enticing aromas stimulates your brain to the flavors you are about to enjoy. The emotion and memory of the moment are being etched in your brain.

The food, service, and ambience collectively create a long-lasting impression on one’s memory.

Include the influences of the bucolic setting of the winery, where the stresses and stimuli of the hectic nature of city life, business negotiations, and the clock fade away with the clouds, together with the lush beauty of vineyards and the smells of the wine-country air (olfactory bulb again!), and one is bombarded with stimuli that enhance the memory of tasting this wine.

With a smattering of wine education from your host and no rush to be anywhere other than your next dining indulgence, a superior memory and taste has been impressed upon you and results in the hope of being stimulated and relived every time you prepare to sip the wine. When it is not achieved, simply keep sampling and sampling and sampling.