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Tag Archives: taste

Hendrix = Cabernet

Wine tastes better with music, according to the Telegraph.

“The research showed that when a powerful, heavy piece of music is heard, a wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon is perceived as being 60 per cent more powerful, rich and robust than when no music is heard.”

The Telegraph also reports that it tastes better in blue or red lit rooms.

“Drinkers’ brains are tricked into thinking a glass of white wine is better and more expensive tasting when exposed to the red or blue background lighting than those in rooms with green or white background lighting.”

The right glass can make a difference to taste, according to Reidel.

“The type of wine glass you drink out of can make a huge difference when it comes to the nose and flavor of a wine, and Riedel was one of the first major companies to recognize this.”

What you taste is influenced by what you’re told beforehand:

“Wine tastes different to those who are given information on the product before a wine tasting”

And wine tastes different in the air ie in a plane.

“Did you know that wine tastes different in the air? So that glass of sauvignon blanc you savour at home might be a bit too acidic at 10,000m. And a nice cabernet sauvignon you lick your lips over when it’s served on the plane could seem a bit overpowering when you get back down to earth.”

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Women have a more perceptive palate than men. This is a conventional wisdom in the world of wine and supported by my own experience.

The Sacramento Bee includes both anecdotal evidence and science to support this conclusion.

“”Oftentimes when I teach classes I have beginners, and when I ask people to volunteer what they’re (tasting) the women are shooting their hands up. I can’t call on them quickly enough. Their descriptions from the wine glass can be so nuanced and fabulous.”

They also quote a Danish study where 8,900 schoolchildren painted their tongues blue to have their taste buds counted and were subjected to samples of various sweet and sour tastes.

“The conclusion practically had the girls singing “anything you can do, I can do better.” Girls had a better sense of taste than boys and were more keen on recognizing various levels of sweet and sour.”

So there you have it – female tasters rule!

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I’d always been told that you tasted different flavours on different parts of the tongue, as per the map above.

  1. The back of the tongue: bitter tastes.
  2. The sides of the tongue near the back: sour tastes.
  3. The sides of the tongue near the front: salty tastes.
  4. The tip of the tongue: sweet tastes.

But this article, based on one from Nature, says, “The notion that the tongue is mapped into four areas—sweet, sour, salty and bitter—is wrong.  There are five basic tastes identified so far, and the entire tongue can sense all of these tastes more or less equally.”

They quote research that concluded, “Collings found that all tastes can be detected anywhere there are taste receptors—around the tongue, on the soft palate at back roof of the mouth, and even in the epiglottis, the flap that blocks food from the windpipe.” 

Well there you go. Tomorrow I’m at a big tasting of New Zealand wines at Lords. I think this could be a good time to put the research to the test.

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Do expensive wines taste better? Only if you know about wine according to the American Association of Wine Economists.

Here’s the related site . And here’s the conclusion of their academic paper on the subject. 

“In a sample of more than 6,000 blind tastings, we find that the correlation between price and overall rating is small and negative, suggesting that individuals on average enjoy more expensive wines slightly less. For individuals with wine training, however, we find indications of a positive relationship between price and enjoyment.”

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