Let’s start with the short version: we all need to calm the hell down.
If social media reaction is any indication, the wine world is losing its shiz over the potential implications of an interesting study highlighted recently on The Academic Wino blog by Becca Yeamans-Irwin. Why we seem to go through this in April of each year I don’t know, but maybe the pursuit of an answer to that is worthy of its own study?
Anyway, according to that blog post, a 2015 study from the journal Food Chemistry suggests the following (quoted from the article):
“…it is possible that the perception of different wine aromas can be altered by physiological factors like mouth temperature, saliva composition, or the oral microbial community present in each individuals’ mouths.”
The study found that an individual’s unique oral microbiota makeup is capable of hydrolyzing certain compounds found in both grapes and in wine, thus changing how the wine’s flavor and aromas are perceived on an individual basis. The process potentially gives some scientific explanation as to why individuals perceive different aromatic and flavor aspects when tasting the same wine. All of which lead Yeamans-Irwin to conclude that
“This [sic] result could have profound implications on how we understand wine tasting and the perception of aromas and flavors for any given wine.”
The problem is that a lot of people seem to be ignoring the “could” part of her statement…