Sommeliers have an important role at high class restaurants–if you’re ordering an expensive glass of wine, you want it to pair well with your meal. Can a wine expert really judge wines objectively, though?
Several studies seem to prove that wine tasting is highly subjective. Sure, we all have different taste buds and thus it would make sense that no one can agree on which wine is the “best.” But it was surely quite upsetting for French oenophiles during the 1976 “Judgement of Paris” when 11 judges (9 of which were French) rated Californian wines as better than French wines in a blind taste test.
There’s something gratifying about American wines being just as good if not better than French wines. But we can’t rest on those laurels too much. A more surprising study had 40 wine tasters describe a glass of white wine and a glass of red wine. The judges praised the red wine’s jamminess and appreciated the “crushed red fruit” taste. Too bad for them the “red” wine was the exact same glass of white wine with red food coloring added. Not one judge recognized that it was white wine.
Moral of the story: if you’re drinking a glass of wine and you think it’s good–no matter the vintage, varietal, or vineyard–you’re right. Enjoy.