Ever wondered why you can't quite detect those hints of vanilla and cardamom touted in a pricey bottle of wine? A new study finds that wine experts—like the wine writer who likely informed you of that cardamom in the first place—simply have a better sense of taste than most of the rest of us. Hundreds of wine drinkers sampled a chemical that gauges a person's reaction to bitter tastes, and the wine experts were found to be around 40% more sensitive than casual wine drinkers, NPR reports.
Of course, practice is one reason wine experts get so good at tasting nuances and subtleties. But the study fits with the idea, formulated by prior research, that some "supertasters" are simply more sensitive to begin with. "Wine shopping can be confusing and overwhelming," one wine writer acknowledges. Wine ratings can help you narrow down your options, but "every critic has his or her own taste. So the same wine might garner wildly differing scores from a variety of critics."