A Collection of Exhibits Demonstrating Why Wine Tastings/Review are Bullshit
iO9’s Robert Gonzalez provides us a number of studies and examples the demonstrate why wine tastings and reviews are really full of it. Honestly none of these really surprise me. Here’s why. When it comes to taste preferences, even the most trained tongues among us, are still relying on our own unreliable subjective opinions and preferences. We all have bias. We all have things that we prefer one way or another. And regardless of how rigorously we may try to hone our skill and suppress our personal preferences or bias so as to be “objective” in a matter, things like taste still rely, ultimately, on subjective appraisal.
Yes, it is true, that certain chemicals do create certain flavors or fragrances, however, that is the end of the objectivity matter. Whether the presence of those flavors or fragrances are deemed good or bad will ultimately come down to that subjective appraisal. Furthermore, as a couple of the examples in the article point out, even our subjective analysis and review is often lacking in a lot of consistency, so much so that we might respond differently to the exact same thing only moments apart.
This isn’t to say that there are not any wines that, as a whole, enjoy broad praise for quality. Certainly there are plenty. What it does say however, is that our insistent reliance on “experts” when it comes to things like wine (or whatever else really) is, at best, unnecessary, and in the extreme, really just kind of absurd. If you like a bottle of five-buck-chuck, even though it is universally reviled by the elite of wine world, guess what? Good for you, you have a wine that you enjoy and there is nothing wrong with that.
All too often, with some many things in life, we undermine our own pleasure and enjoyment, with the intent to try to confirm and adhere to some sense of conformity with an authority that deems what is good or not. But when we see, that those authorities are not really nearly as reliable as they may claim, then we’re given a good opportunity to reevaluate and say, “hey, doesn’t it just make more sense to enjoy what we do enjoy, and not give a flying fuck if some critic or review says we should or shouldn’t?” The answer is “yes, we should just enjoy whatever we happen to.” Life is a lot better that way.