This article support what I always believed in, as far as wine is conserned. My father in law and a cousin of my wife are “expert wine tasters” (so they say) but they’ve never took me up on a blind tasting test, even when I proposed to put my money where my mouth is. As for myself, I don’t think I can tell the difference between red and white,(blindfolded and same temperature) never mind quality. Sweet and dry I can maybe do.

I enjoy red wines a lot, but I suck at the whole taste-notes thing. I’m often bewildered when someone describes a wine as having:
“Vanilla with a bit of wallnuts and roasted chestnuts, and a mango aftertaste”. The best I can muster is “chocolatey” or “coffee” or “lekker”/“kak”.

BUT, I have been drinking and aging wine at least long enough to pick up on other things… My arch nemesis Shiraz (oft highly praised by those in the know) can usually be tasted even in blends. And I never like it. I would venture that in a blind tasting I would have trouble telling a merlot from a cab. sav or other varietals, even though I prefer Merlot in general. It’s just shiraz (or “syrah”, my mistake) that I can’t stand.

I say aging because I do get a “softness” with aged wines that I prefer. I tend to keep a small number bottles for about 5 years before I imbibe them.

I’m actually relieved to find it’s not just me that finds the whole “fine art of tasting” thing a bit of baloney.

Blind tasting of wines is hardly anything new: there are connoisseurs who can identify the type of grape, geographic origin, year of harvest etc. with remarkable consistency. I therefore take Hodgson’s comments with a pinch of salt - he has hardly invented blind wine tasting and all manner of tricks to test the skills of wine tasters have been conducted before. That is not to deny that there also is a lot of snobbery and pretence around wine tasting. Perhaps the “experts” that Hodgson refers to are self-proclaimed. The real connoisseurs exist.

On a similar note, it is not clear that anyone can distinguish the sound of a Stradivarius violin costing a million dollars from that a well made factory instrument costing a few thousand.

And even experts are not all that good at distinguishing abstract art by great masters from doodles by children or apes:

This all actually reminds me of a double-blind test administered to “audiophiles” where Coat Hangers were indistinguishable from expensive speaker cable for perceived audio quality over short distances.

Well BM, you’re obviously confused. For audiophiles it’s oxygen-free copper whereas oenophiles like their potations oxygenated.

I hope that clears up the chemystery for you.



I’m not confused, there’s just no need to start Throwing Copper into this discussion. Might as well invoke bonking Gorilla’s, now there’s a chemistery.

He only tested this on American wine with American experts…

Blind winetasters had their sport dropped from the Special Olympics due to a technicality, and have ever since been lobbying to get the biathlon extended to a winter triathlon. The suggested sequence being skiing, posh plonking then shooting. In a further bid to improve their chances of gaining more recognition , a few brave souls have taken to double blind wine tasting; a dangerous event best left to professionals.


Well, this bit at least a friend and I tested personally. That is, the notion that red wine should “breathe” a bit before you drink it.

He poured some red wine fresh from the bottle into a glass, then shook the bottle to shake some air into it and poured some of it into another glass. Lo and behold, there was a very clear difference in taste. To make sure we were not just bamboozling ourselves, we conducted a blind test on his wife, and she too could very clearly taste the difference between the glasses (and confirmed that the oxygenated one tasted better, even though she did not know which one that was).

Still don’t know if there was any fruitiness, with a subtle hint of leather and smoke, or whatever, in the wine… :slight_smile:

Which is why wine is more suitable than beer for people with Parkinson’s disease.

;D You’re a wicked god, Hermes. Zeus and Maia would be shocked at how easily you can cross boundaries. Dionysus will surely punish you into eternity with a dribble goblet. ;D


Ah, but he who runs the post office decides who gets what mail. :wink: