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Wine Tasting Demystified Blog

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Nov 25, 2020

Listen to this Episode of the Wine Talks Podcast

I had the immense pleasure to chat with Paul K. about the Wine Aroma Wheel, how you can learn to describe wine aroma confidently, and the role of sensory scientists in the wine industry.


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Nov 21, 2020

The tongue map and four other fallacies still taught today

Have you ever tried to locate the basic taste areas on your tongue? Did you try this exercise: to put sugar on the tip of your tongue, lemon juice, or salt.

Why would you do that? Well, you learned about the tongue map, delineating exactly where you can perceive the four basic tastes.

However, if you have followed me for a little while, you know that the tongue map is inaccurate.

The infamous tongue map came back to me Monday evening, unexpectedly. Paul K, from the Wine of the Month club, asked me about the tongue map during the recording of an episode for his podcast, Wine Talks. Was it true or bogus?

The tongue map is bogus, period.

Here is the true story of the tongue map, first reported by my professor in graduate school and also confirmed by the Director of the Monell Center.

Continue reading "The tongue map and four other fallacies still taught today"

Oct 17, 2020

Are women better than men for aroma identification?

Are women better than men for wine tasting? That's a question that often comes in conversations and classrooms. It seems to be an established knowledge that women have superior tasting skills. But is there any evidence?

Check out this week's article.

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Oct 14, 2020


Do dentures affect your ability to taste wine?

Continue reading "Dentures"

Oct 07, 2020

The Tool That Transformed Wine Tasting by Lettie Teague

A new article was just published in the Wall Street Journal, featuring Dr. Ann Noble's work to help wine enthusiasts and wine professionals use the same language to describe wine.

Here is the link if you have missed it.

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Oct 02, 2020

The Secrets to Recognize Wine Aromas

Our love for wine is not innate and being a skilled wine taster is not innate either.

Our ability to appreciate some foods and wine depends on our upbringing, the culture, and the rituals with which we grew up.

These personal experiences create memories deeply stored in our brains. The aromas and flavors we grew up with then become part of our sensory repertoire. They become so familiar to you that when you encounter them in a glass of wine, bingo, you know exactly what they are, and you call them out.

Our ability to memorize new olfactory sensations is weak when there is no emotional association with them. That's the challenge a wine taster faces when identifying unfamiliar aroma in a glass of wine. It will take many training sessions and practices to master the ability to identify these novel sensations.

But it's doable if you follow a framework based on sensory and flavor sciences.

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Sep 19, 2020

A wine label design can tell you more than you think

Last week, I opened a bottle with the most intriguing wine label design from one of the mystery bottles I received in my wine club shipment.

The label was white with a giant fish drawn as if he wanted to escape the bottle. The fish colors were yellow and green, and there was a fishing hook represented on the capsule, which told me the wine would be a perfect match with a fish dinner.

In this week's article, I go other the three wine label design elements that could influence the aromas you smell. I review as well a few other indicators that may lead you to think of superior wine quality.

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Sep 05, 2020

Nine common wine tasting questions and a surprising one

Last week, someone asked me one of the most unusual wine tasting questions. How to describe a well-made wine?

It took me by surprise and made me ponder.

First, let’s set up the context.

One of my Facebook group members invited me to lead a wine aroma training online with her Meet Up group.

The 12 passionate wine enthusiasts were very engaged and asked excellent questions, which might be questions you also have.

This is the topic of this week's article.

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Aug 28, 2020

The ins and outs of creating flavor wheels

I am fond of the Wine Aroma Wheel, one of the most renowned flavor wheels, as a teaching tool for helping students describe wine. 

A news headline picked my curiosity a few weeks back.

"Sensory scientists and taste testers create world's first wagyu flavour wheel."

I had no idea what wagyu was and why scientists needed to develop a flavor wheel.

I researched and discovered that wagyu was one of the four Japanese beef breeds (I knew about Kobe) and one breed quote expensive to purchase.

So what was the need for a flavor wheel for beef?

Why, in the first place, do scientists develop a flavor wheel on the model of the wine aroma wheel?

Continue reading "The ins and outs of creating flavor wheels"

Aug 15, 2020

My Biggest Pet Peeves in Wine Tasting

I believe that the most productive wine evaluations are tastings conducted in a quiet environment, in silence, without distractions, and designed to focus on the wines.

I describe them as "mindful tasting," a reference to the mindfulness practice to be present, in the moment.

After all, wine tasting is about experiencing wine in the moment. Mindful tasting helps forge memories of wine aromas and flavors to build our knowledge on the grape varieties, the wine region, or the wine style, one tasting at a time.

However, I have been in many tasting sessions that were compromised by some disturbances.

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