I love good wine, but I don't know how to taste it?. How many times we hear these words from people who were not able to go beyond the immediate appreciation of a wine?
It is often enough to a minimum of a personal investment, so the inexhaustible possibilities and richness of tasting open to the amateur! For such a reason, Club Grappe, the first wine tasting club in Lebanon, was created by Dr Carlos Khachan in the year 2002. Our philosophy is quite simple, we learn people how to "read the wine", to understand its personality, its history. Finally a well analyzed wine reveals all its charms.
No wine is intrinsically disgusting; if it were, then nobody would drink it. With this in mind, the question begging to be asked is what causes such a wide range of likes and dislikes when it comes to the wine that we put in our mouths?
This whole subject is incredibly complex, possibly the most complex of all processes performed by the human body and it starts in the womb; It has been shown that flavours can be passed from mother to babythrough the amniotic fluid as early as 11 weeks (six months before birth); By the time that we are born into the world, we have already experienced many of the flavours from our mothers diet. The process of taste aroma and flavour perception is being researched around the world. Knowledge gained from this research has far-reaching implications, be it detecting disease by smell or re-kindling the faded palate of an elderly person.
Eating or drinking is a multi-modal process (involving all the senses). Any comments concerning wine being just about taste are misguided. Try drinking a fine wine from a polystyrene cup or eating a beautifully cooked piece of fish off a paper plate with a plastic knife and fork, it is not the same. Both physiological and psychological factors come into play and in many cases, they cannot be separated. Take-for example- a fine wine drunk from a polystyrene cup; the shape of the cup will affect the perceived smell and flavour of the wine (physiological) and the material will affect the feel of the cup in the hand and on the lips (psychological).
Taste is one of the six senses (some say we have more), the others being touch, sound, sight, smell and proprioception, (the sense of "ourselves") our bodies own on-board computer. The sense of taste can then be broken down into five basic categories. All of which happen in the mouth and nowhere else. These categories are salt, sweet, sour, bitter and Umami (the most recently identified taste named by Ikeda in Japan in 1908). There is a current theory that fat is actually a taste but this has yet to be proved.
We have up to 10,000 taste buds on the tongue and in the mouth. These regenerate so that the receptors that we use today will not be the same as were used a couple of days ago. Although different parts of the tongue can register different tastes, the classic drawing of the tongue showing it divided into different sections for the four different tastes (there were only four known at the time of this 19th century illustration) is totally wrong.