It is not uncommon. Groups of people try a wine, and everyone has a different opinion. Why?

In a previous blog, I described the hard work in becoming a professional wine taster. I was one of a group of thirty thirsty students, all seriously committed to upping their game when it came to wine tasting skills. We worked hard to apply a standard approach to describe the wines we tasted. Each wine tasting led to a group discussion sharing our conclusions. More often than not, there were clearly different opinions.

It can be perplexing when you pick up a flavor that seems way off compared to everyone else’s impressions. But we all do find different things in the same wines – because each individual has a unique and personal approach to taste. The point about personal taste was driven home when the course tutor passed around a clear liquid. Opinion was completely divided: half found that it tasted neutral or even sweet; the other half said it was unpleasantly bitter. We had all tasted a chemical called PTC (phenylthiocarbamide). This standard biochemical test has been subject of tens of millions of trials. Whether you find PTC bitter (and how you react to many other flavors) depends upon your DNA and genes.

I saw this in practice recently at the Friday Club at Cavender Creek. We had a chance to taste a new wine, still in production. We tried three samples of the same wine, each with a miniscule difference in the amount of naturally occurring tartaric acid. Three samples, and every sample was at least one person’s favorite. Who is to judge which of the samples is the: “best” wine?

Everyone has their own inbuilt preference for one sort or another of tastes. Nobody has a perfect palate giving the only correct opinion about a wine, however experienced they may be at tasting.

I am often asked:: “Which wine would I like?” I can only offer one safe answer:: “The one you like the best”. Everyone finds their own taste profile in a bottle of wine, and the wine you like is the right wine for you!