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The Experience of Taste
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peter
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:46 am    Post subject: The Experience of Taste Reply with quote

Celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal did a program on telly the other night where he was challenged to produce four or five dishes suitable to be taken and eaten by Tim Peake, UK astronaut abourd the ISS on his current 6 month trip.

During the course of the Program Blumenthal was trying to get across the impotrance of 'setting' in the perception of taste and he used an example of sitting on the banks of the Loir, sipping a cold sauterne [or whatever] and thinking "My Gosh - this is first rate wine!" You order six cases, sample one in your front room at home and think "What have I done! it doesn't taste the same at all." Blumenthal went on to say that "No - it doesn't taste the same; but then you forgot to bring the banks of the Loir home - and the beautiful sunny spring day - and the long weekend you had ahead of you."

The point he was making - but did not drive home nearly enough - is not that you just think the wine tastes different, it actually does taste different. If you connect recording equipment to the taste reception centers of the brain and record the profile of activity of the wine drunk under the first set of circumstances compared to that of the second, it's totally different; it actually tastes different for real depending on how and where it is consumed. L'escoffier was perhaps the first professional chef to realise this. In designing his restaurants he absolutely demanded the best cutlery, crockery and glass-ware - the setting had to be one of the finest taste and apportment of the day and the presentation impecable. He knew that what his dinners would taste on the plate would be heavily influenced by the surroundings they ate it in. Decades before this was confirmed by neurologists he intuitively knew it to be the case and tailored his eateries accordingly.

The same phenomena is true on a lesser scale of even the most mundane of dishes. You've heard it a million times. Tea tastes better in a china cup; fish and chips taste better when served in newspaper; wine tastes better in a crystal-glass. They do! The sensation of taste is highly complex and draws on many inputs both emotional and physical. The good restauraneur knows this and does everything in his power, even beyond that which he puts on the plate, to enhance it.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Germany we have a saying: "Never bring wine across the Brenner pass". It reflects the disappointment of thousands of German tourists who came home from their first trips abroad after WWII and brought wine with them. And it tasted nothing like it did in Italy at home.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 6:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting...I dunno about a crystal glass, but wine out of a teacup certainly does not taste as good. (Damn...I'm on my last bottle of that 2009 Cab Sauv I picked up a while ago.)

I think that to some extent, I may be less susceptible than most to that particular effect of setting on taste, being aphantasic, but the wine from a teacup example is an exception. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar - what is aphantasic? not finding it.

and I only like wine when I am on the second bottle. my wife says this is not a good way to drink wine.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sgt.null wrote:
Avatar - what is aphantasic? not finding it.

and I only like wine when I am on the second bottle. my wife says this is not a good way to drink wine.


Google says: Most people can readily conjure images inside their head - known as their mind's eye. But this year scientists have described a condition, aphantasia, in which some people are unable to visualise mental images

As far as wine. I always drink it out of a glass. I have had a really good wine in a Dixie cup before and its true... there is something about that, that takes away from the experience and thus the 'taste' of the wine. The other thing I have learned about wine is 'sometimes' you get what you pay for. In other words, I have had some really good inexpensive wines and I have had some really bad expensive wines.

Another thing that has drawn me away from mass produced wines to more local wines is the additives. Specifically Mega Purple. Mega Purple is used to bolster or "enhance" wines that are less dark or have elements that the winery doesn't feel will appeal to the masses. It is reported that as much as 20% of the total production of such additives is related to wines.

Quite frankly, I can taste the Mega Purple in wines. They tend to have a "jammy", over-ripe taste and mouth feel. They tend to be too sweet for what they are supposed to be. Typcically if you get a Cabernet that has too much sweetness and fruity 'pop' to it. It probably has the Mega Purple. BTW if you drink cheap wines that have this in it, regularly, it will stain your teeth.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 6:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sarge, what SB said: http://kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=995621#995621

Interesting SB...never heard of it, and a bit of searching shows no indication that we use it in SA. Stick to South African wines like I do. Wink

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my experience shape and size of the glass has a huge influence on the taste of wine, not only psychologically.. It has to do with oxidation and how much surface is exposed to air. I have seen old Bordeauxs in huge glasses go from wine to sherry literally in seconds, whereas the same wine from the same bottle survived considerably longer in narrower glasses.

Also some say the shape of the rim has an influence on which part of th tongue comes into contact with wine in the first place, thus creating different first-taste impressions. A wine monger once told me that glasses with rims curved inwards tend to hide small mistakes, whereas rims curved outwards underline flaws. He said that's why testing glasses are curved outside whereas normal drinking glasses are usually curved inside.

Here's what you will find in my cupboards:



Usually I'm a red wine drinker. On the left you can see my standard red wine glass for most wines. It's the classic Bordeuax shape. The bottle in the back should indicate the size of the glassses.

Next to it the glass I mainly use for Barolos and Burgundry wines. It is rounder and wider, thus allowing more oxigene to get in contact with the wine. I've done blind tasting with friends and I say a Barolo does taste different from another glass.

In the middle a white wine glass I drink most Rieslings (dry, of course) and stuff like Sancerre from. Mostly white wines that have a "green" taste.

A fat Chardonnay would go in the glass next to it.

the long tall one is for champagne and the one on th eright for other sparkling wines.



On the left the Bordeuax glass again, just to compare sizes. Nex to it a sherry glass, then the sparkling wine glass the Missus prefers. On the right a glass I'd never drink any wine from., I mainly use it for desserts.

As you may notice, it's all plain glass. I cannot drink wine )or anything else) from colored glasses.

Sorrry for hijacking the threat.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My main problem with wine glasses is that we break them. Like, all the time. Very Happy

Guaranteed, if I buy some nice wine glasses, they will be broken in a month. Very Happy

I just took a look in the cupboard, and see they have tended to survive in twos. However, I never use them any more, because they're so damn fragile.

So I have two cut glass sorta goblet looking things with a tulip-like flare that were my mother's, two red glass monstrosities that, to be fair, were originally used for deserts I think, (I had 4 or 6 of them from my late uncle's restaurant), two made out of recycled bottles which I like, but eschew because they are a pain to wash, (I actually forgot I had them until now) and two (non-matching) martini style glasses which are never used because they only hold about 150ml and are damn unstable. Laughing

The GF has a flute for her (non-alcoholic) sparkling wine, (she stopped drinking a few years ago) and my default is this: (Or close enough anyway)



Cheap and sturdy and easy to replace. Very Happy

(I also still have 4 Irish coffee glasses too (out of 6) but they don't count.)

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:
My main problem with wine glasses is that we break them. Like, all the time. Very Happy


I break lots of glasses, especially after the third bottle. My advice (as with Lemmy and JD): always buy in bulk.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That mega purple thing is very interesting. I'm a big fan of terroir in wines - the subtle influence of soil, altitude, and aspect on flavour- and that sounds like an oenophile's worst nightmare!

Re glass shape - absolutely. I'd no more drink champagne from a coupe than I'd eat steak from a shovel. Wink Seriously, it absolutely effects the flavour getting wine into the right shaped glass.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vader wrote:


I break lots of glasses, especially after the third bottle. My advice (as with Lemmy and JD): always buy in bulk.


Hahaha, mine tend to be broken in the washing up. And while bulk is all very well, where do I keep the damn things? Very Happy

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man this 404 error is getting to me; Another great post lost for good.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That sucks. Copy it before you post. Or compose in notepad.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What happens if you hit the back button immediately after losing it?

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just goes back to the empty reply box Av. I'll rewrite it again in a day or two coz I was quite pleased with it. Wink
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You really need a better browser. Firefox and Chrome both go back to the page with your typing on it.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damn - caught again! It seems to happen on the same threads ( this time from my android, not my laptop...... And always my long posts!
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you typing into the quick reply box, or clicking the reply button first?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not yet happened on the quick reply box - only from the 'post a reply' screen. Trouble is my quick reply box doesn't always work. Nothing in life is easy eh? Laughing
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'Then let it end.'

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2016 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me, if there are no extended characters, it only happens from the quick reply box. Weird.

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