Have you ever read or heard a wine description that seemed more like an enumeration of all fruit in your Grandma’s garden, gotten overly excited about the prospect of enjoying the taste of all your favourite fruit in one glass, and then sipped on your wine only to realise you cannot distinguish the taste of any fruit at all in it? Or have you ever gotten so thrilled about trying a highly recommended vintage bottle that you spent all your monthly savings on it, only to bring it home and find out that it tastes to you exactly like the cheapest wine from the nearest supermarket? If you have ever found yourself in a similar situation you probably cannot consider yourself a true wine expert and I’m not saying this just to be mean.
Why Experts Differ
When you face a disappointment like the ones described above, your first instinct is probably to blame it on greedy marketers hiding behind the masks of pseudo-experts who would say anything to promote their client’s brand. However, research has revealed that it’s not actually pseudo-experts and their distorted presentation of reality, but our very own taste buds that are to blame for this discrepancy in perception. Evidently, ordinary wine drinkers cannot pick up half of the chemicals a true expert would notice in a high quality wine (or any wine, for that matter). That is to say that when you drink a bottle recommended by a true connoisseur you are not really drinking the same wine as it would have tasted very differently to them.
You are probably rolling your eyes and thinking that you didn’t need researchers to tell you that. After all, wine experts are not called so for nothing, and one would naturally expect them to develop sniffing and tasting skills that are not common among amateurs. Now the real question is what is in that research for ordinary wine drinkers. If the same wine would taste different to them and to experts recommending it, is there any value at all in wine recommendations? Would it not make more sense to opt for wine that you know the “personalised” taste of?
The truth is, with wine it always comes down to your personal preference and the core reason behind drinking it. If you just want to spend a nice evening in the company of your friends or on your own, if you want to complement the taste of your dinner, or even if wine is simply your favourite drink, then it doesn’t really matter what label your bottle boasts of and how much you have paid for it. What is really important is for you to enjoy your wine, and as long as this aim is achieved nobody would care if your bottle of choice won an award in an international contest or if it got picked up for change from your grocery shopping. At the same time, if you are keen to fully absorb the wine culture and learn to evaluate your wine rather than simply enjoy it, then it is probably worth listening to acknowledged experts and learning from them. Even if your taste buds are biologically different from theirs and you can hardly tell apples from acid in your wine, there is very little that sufficient time and effort investment wouldn’t help you power through.
If you are free this evening get yourself one of the bottles described in our wine reviews section and see if you would agree with attributes we have assigned to it. Always remember that whether your opinion coincides with ours or not, whether you are well on your way to becoming a true wine expert or just want to try a different brand for fun, the main thing there is to know about wine: it is there for you to enjoy it.