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Vinnez – August 2012

August 27, 2012 Vinnez Newsletters No Comments

Same or Different

Winemakers argue about this all the time.

“A wine should be consistent year to year and a winemaker’s job is to achieve a level of never-ending consistency. Consumers expect a wine always to taste the same. That is the definition of high quality wine.”

Winemaker“Wine must express the uniqueness of the grape growing season, the vintage. A winemaker’s responsibility is to extract from the grapes Mother Nature’s impact on the berries and have it expressed in the wine. Wine drinkers look for wine to surprise them by offering a new experience every year. This is the definition of high quality wine.”

Who do you agree with? For me, every wine bottle needs to hold a surprise insider. Wine that tastes the same every year is boring. Like eating the same meal every day, no matter how delicious the food might initially taste, one soon craves a change.

Large wine producers work to keep their wines similar from year to year. They tweak their blending and add additives when necessary to achieve consistency. Large clients such as hotel and restaurant chains who buy wine from these producers demand  an unchanging product. Staff find it easier to present the wines to the majority of patrons who  are occasional, inexperienced  wine drinkers. This approach greatly reduces the risk of delivering a bottle with flavors that the consumer is unfamiliar with and does not like.

If you want to experience exceptional wine, seek out small and mid-sized producers representative of their winemaking region. Stay away from boring, mass-produced wines that are – you know – mass produced.

Alberto Antonini, a well-regarded Italian oenologist and wine consultant, is credited with introducing the world to high quality Argentine Malbec wines. Commenting on wine production, he said, “If everything were perfect every year, it would be the Coca-Cola industry instead of the wine industry.”

Right on, Alberto!

Barry P. Chaiken, Proprietor
Chaiken Vineyards

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Featured Photo Courtesy of  Don Guerwitz Photography – Angkor Watt, Siem Riep, Cambodia



Taste (also called gustation; adjectival form: gustatory) is one of the traditional five senses. Taste is that sensation produced when stimuli are taken into the mouth and react with the receptors of the taste buds. Simply put, it is a chemical reaction between stimuli (food) and receptors (taste buds).

Taste along with smell (olfaction) and trigeminal nerve stimulation (with touch for texture, also pain, and temperature) determines flavors, the sensory impressions of food or other substances.Taste bud

Humans receive tastes through sensory organs called taste buds, or gustatory calyculi, concentrated on the top of the tongue. Taste is sensed through taste cells, which are known as taste buds. There are about 100,000 taste buds that are located on the back and front of the tongue. Others are located on the roof, sides and back of the mouth, and in the throat. The sensation of taste can be categorized into five basic tastes: sweet, bitter, sour, salty, and umami. “Umami” is a Japanese word coined by the Japanese scientist Dr. Kikunae Ikeda, the discoverer of this taste as a distinct one; apparently from umami (a Japanese word meaning ‘delicious’ or ‘savory’; not ‘meaty’). Not surprisingly, it is characteristic of many Asian dishes.

The amino acid glutamate produces a strong umami taste. The tongue is able to differentiate between the different tastes based on different molecules or ions that bind to the taste cell. Sweet, umami, and bitter taste is triggered by different molecules that bind to the G protein-coupled membrane receptors; while saltiness is from Na+ ions and sourness is from H+ ions entering the cell. As taste senses both harmful and beneficial things, all basic tastes are classified as either aversive or appetitive, depending upon the effect the things they sense have on our bodies. Sweetness helps to identify energy-rich foods, while bitterness serves as a warning sign of poisons.

The basic tastes contribute only partially to the sensation and flavor of food in the mouth — other factors include smell, detected by the olfactory epithelium of the nose; texture, detected through a variety of mechanoreceptors, muscle nerves, etc.; temperature, detected by thermoreceptors; and “coolness” (such as of menthol) and “hotness” (piquance), through chemesthesis.

Source and Further Reading: Wikipedia

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