According to a recent survey of wine drinkers, headed up jointly by Cornell professor Virginia Utermohlen and controversial wine guru Tim Hanni, wine consumers who prefer sweet wines often hyper-experience across their other senses. Apparently to the point that they might forego their undergarments entirely:
“People who love sweet or delicate wines are typically what we call Sweet or Hypersensitive tasters. They live with vivid sensations that people at the other end of the spectrum cannot imagine and will often prefer Moscato wines. Those more tolerant tasters would prefer wines with more tannins, for example… people with very sensitive palates are also more sensitive to light, sound, taste and touch. The touch aspect can be significant in their clothing, as the manufacturers’ tags irritate their skin and cause them to wear underclothing inside out, or in many cases, none at all.”
So… based on what we know about women’s wine habits from recent studies and polls… if you have amorous intent then you’re best bet might be buying your date a bottle of the most expensive, and sweetest (assuming she’s one of those hyper-sensorial types) rose wine possible. If I were Sutter Home, I might increase my White Zin prices by several percentage points in anticipation of the windfall (after adding some more sugar to them).
But there is a serious side to all of this for us wine geeks…
It tells us that we probably don’t all taste the same, and reinforces that the best thing that we can do for getting our wine recommendations is to follow not one wine criticism voice but several, giving preference to those tasters whose sensory perception seems to align best to our personal tastes.
Tim Hanni’s work, though controversial, I think is gaining traction – and has a sort of spiritual alignment with the cosmopolitan wine tendencies of Millennials, and the focus on bringing tasting power from a select few critics and back into the hands of the people. The latter is a stance that’s received a lot of publicity in recent months thanks to books like The Wine Trails, which urges consumers to taste wines blind, define their own palate preferences, and buy accordingly (all while controversially taking shots at the established wine media along the way).
While it could certainly be argued that Hanni is overstating the case when it comes to our sensory experience discrepancies, there’s no denying that key differences exist in how any two people perceive a given experience, and it feels like folly to assume that food, taste, and wine should be excluded:
“People often argue about the characteristics they perceive in a wine,” Hanni says. “It’s as though they’re not tasting the same thing — even experts tasting from the same bottle. These variables are evident in a spectrum of attitudes and behaviors — from the volume on television, temperature in a room, use of spices or the sheets in the bed.”
Personally, the day when people trust their own palates and can confidently navigate a wider group of experts providing recommendations based on varied tasting preferences couldn’t arrive soon enough. Vive la différence! How about you?