Wine Tasting – New from New Yorker

(Last Updated On: July 18, 2014)

Wine Tasting, Wine, Print Shop 200pxWine Tasting

Wine tasting is a topic that never gets out of date! It’s fun, it’s delicious, it’s sociable. And the wine tasting process itself involves so many dimensions besides smell and taste.

Charles South alerted me to a well-written blog about the biases we bring to wine tasting, on the New Yorker Magazine blogsite: What We Really Taste When We Drink Wine, by Maria Konnikova.

You may have read my previous posts that touch on wine tasting:
Taste Bias and the $90 Wine
Sensory Evaluation 1 (Wine): Measuring the Indescribable

If you found those interesting, I think you’ll also enjoy Konnikova’s wine tasting article. It talks about some additional wine tasting studies that focus on how our expectations affect our wine tasting experience. Thanks, Charles!

Here are a few goodies from the New Yorker blog that I especially enjoyed:
– When there’s a “story” behind the wine, we think the wine tastes better. The story might be about the winemaker, the vineyard, the grapes, or even something that should have nothing to do with the taste of the wine. It seems that all that’s important is that the story evokes pleasant associations for us, because we then unconsciously associate those feelings with the wine itself.
– Our taste is influenced by the color and shape of the label on the bottle. Even the name of the winery comes into play – the more difficult it is to pronounce the name of the winery, the more likely we’ll like its wine!
– Amateurs can’t taste differences in wine at all, but a mere twenty-five minute training session makes people better wine tasting judges, and makes them less vulnerable to advertising.

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Comments

Wine Tasting – New from New Yorker — 1 Comment

  1. Excellent article by Maria Konnikova, which confirms what I have always suspected and now think about wine and oenophiles. If you go to a small local cave in France and ask to taste a few samples of his product, then if the owner is there in person, and he has maybe more than 5 hectares or so of land he will more often than not give you the standard verbal gloss about how his wines taste and why. You have only got to read the labels on nearly all bottles of wine to read the same sort of familiar litany meaning very little. It is standard marketing that they have learned they must do from all the books on wine on the market.

    20 years ago there was none of this, and the other thing is that the very expensive vineyards if they have a familiar and strong reputation do not bother with this sort of scripted puff, and thank goodness for that. Blind tastings are wonderful destroyers of aspirant experts: on one occasion I recall with friends,50% of participants could not tell if it was brandy or whisky they were drinking, never mind whether it was good or not, but that was probably after the meal at the digestif stage.

    I would like to think I can tell if I am drinking an older expensive wine or not in most cases, if only because the ageing process does seem to make a perceptible difference, but frankly I have grown to prefer very often more ordinary and cheaper bottles over those from the expensive end of the wine racks, if only because I am very familiar with the former. I agree with Ms Konnikova that Croze Hermitage is reliably good in my experience, and can be bought from memory down to about six or seven euros a bottle. I suppose I resent the possibility that someone is taking advantage and if you stick with known and familiar good value, then that is more than satisfactory.

    Nick Greaves