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All in the mind

Published:  23 July, 2008

Many Harpers readers will regularly attend organised wine tastings. At most of these events we taste on our own. Occasionally, though, we are asked to share opinions of the wines tasted or, on rare occasions, to reach a consensus.

Space limitations mean this piece has only just begun to explore two complex questions that, at first glance, seem deceptively simple. Already, though, it is clear that the perception of flavour is a complicated business, and in this complexity there is plenty of room for inter- and intra-individual differences. Emerging data from a number of different fields suggest that the wine trade should be paying closer attention to these perceptual differences because they are highly relevant to the production, selling and critical assessment of wine.