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Rivetted by Yoghurt


Scientists have shown that yoghurt eaten with a plastic spoon tastes measurably richer than the same yoghurt tasted from stainless steel. And this is a mental thing, in case you're wondering whether there's some interaction between yoghurt and plastic that creates this effect. There's not. It's all in the mind.

Taste is a wickedly picaresque sense. Those who have undertaken the year-long tasting course in Bordeaux will know this. Part of the syllabus entails tasting the same wine repeatedly, the only variable being the colour of the lighting in the room. I am told that the discepency is so significant that one could quite happily believe one were tasting another liquid altogether.

It's not a gargantuan leap of understanding to realise that in any given environment one's senses will favour particular stimulation. One could happily believe that sub-conscious influences have the potential to alter significantly what one's senses communicate with the conscious mind. Good grief, it might even be possible that my sense of taste is influenced by the pheromones of the person standing next to me.

Devotees of biodynamic culture have their root days, their flower days etc. Might I have my alcohol days and my tannin days? If I am having one of the latter sort, will a taste of Syrah or Cabernet attract me more than samples of Pinot or Grenache? An importer's range tasting might generate very different results in my tasting book if repeated on consecutive days.

The thing is, we don't really understand the interaction of aroma, taste, emotion and mood. We understand very little about our taste for wine and how it changes and what drives those changes.

And, for one, I very much hope it stays that way. The desire to study, analyse and understand wine seems to become increasingly prevalent and vigorous. I am more than happy to wallow in utter incomprehension. It's what adds that dollop of spirituality, keeping me rivetted.
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