In Vino, Room for Interpretation

Despite study's hints, wine tasting remains a personal pursuit
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2008 11:27 AM CDT
The compounds that shape wine taste are difficult to identify because they change when mixed.   (Getty Images )
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(Newser) – That peppery flavor of Syrah? It comes from the same chemical that gives pepper its aroma, a recent study says. So sommeliers aren't making this stuff up: Wine bouquets actually have an empirical basis. But the compounds are tough to pin down because they change when mixed, and 20% of the study's subjects couldn't whiff the chemical in question at all, Tara Q. Thomas writes in Gourmet.

Which means wine tasting is subjective, yet again. “My peach could be someone else’s apricot," Thomas writes. "Gooseberry, a popular term in the UK, leaves most Americans scratching their heads, as it’s not a very popular fruit here." And that's fine by her: The study just shows “that there is no right and wrong in wine tasting.”