Is a wine horizontal or vertical? Square or round? Hollow or dense? Relaxed or tensed? Grainy or smooth? This is a small sample of GeoSensorial Tasting vocabulary — a method that seeks to empower the taster to feel, interpret and give voice to wines of place. By focusing on mouthfeel and assessment criteria such as energy, salivation, geometry, texture and consistency, this methodology helps you to better understand the nuances that a specific terroir, among other factors, brings to wine and helps you to express those nuances. It puts light on how, for example, Chenin Blanc wines from the schist soils of Savennières, the tuffeau of Saumur and the flint-clay and limestone-clay of Vouvray differ from one another. Quite an ambitious undertaking!
This article is the first of an upcoming series by French neuroscientist Gabriel Lepousez. Gabriel is part of the Scientific Committee formed by WSG in the context of its "Architecture of Taste Research Project". He has also presented a fascinating segment on "The Neuroscience of Wine Tasting" as part of The Science of Wine Tasting Webinar Series which will resume with new episodes in the Spring of 2022. The wine tasting paradox There is a real paradox in the experience of tasting a product like wine. Tasting is such a familiar, instinctive, and seemingly obvious act; something that we take for granted. At the same time, wine is a one of the most complex sensory objects that we put into our mouths. Indeed, wine is one of the rare sensory objects of our daily life which solicits all at the same time:
On the 6th of September 2021, Wine Scholar Guild hosted the first large-scale blind-tasting panel as part of its recently announced The Architecture of Taste Research Project. Hosted at the Bristol Hotel in Colmar, Alsace, this panel tasting launched WSG’s research on the tactile and geosensorial tasting approach it developed over the past year. The tasting was designed specifically to assess the experimental and innovative tasting grid that had been developed as part of the Architecture of Taste Research Project. Its eventual aim is a tactile and geosensorial tasting method which focuses on a wine’s energy, induced salivation, geometry/shape, texture, and consistency. Such a tasting method would provide students of wine with an enriched and universal lexicon that not only assesses the qualities of a wine but also dives into the nature of a wine’s personality and, perhaps, its corresponding terroir signature. The panel of tasters included owners or representatives of twenty top Alsace estates such as Albert Boxler, Weinbach, Marcel Deiss and Albert Mann. They were joined by a dozen wine professionals, including Pascaline Lepeltier MOF, a member of the ATRP Scientific Committee, as well as a dozen serious wine lovers. All in all, over 45 panelists participated in the tasting.
The Wine Scholar Guild (WSG) has initiated an ambitious undertaking aimed at developing a new way to assess wine: the Architecture of Taste Research Project (ATRP) The Architecture of Taste Research Project aspires to find a way to empower the individual to taste and describe wine with an enriched and universal lexicon that not only dives deeper into assessing the qualities of a wine’s building blocks but also into the nature of a wine’s personality and, where relevant, its corresponding terroir signature. Just as significantly, the research project aims to develop a new set of assessment criteria that uses the body’s own reflexive reactions as a tuning fork to capture a wine’s inherent signal—a message that incorporates not only sensory perceptions but also perceived energy, the emotions it triggers and evocative elements that, once again, might link a wine to “place.”