Should wine journos insure their palates?
Caught the first 90 minutes of Mondovino - Nossiter's famous film about the world of wine, which I hadn't yet seen - last night on BBC4, but then couldn't stay awake any longer.
I liked what I saw, on the whole. One of the more interesting segments was Nossiter's invasion of the Parker home in Monktown. In it, Bob confirmed that his palate was insured for $1 million.
Then, today, a buddy (thanks Chris) sent me the following link, here, reporting on a coffee taster who's taken out £10 million insurance on his taste buds:
"The taste buds of a Master of Coffee are as important as the vocal cords of a singer or the legs of a top model, and this is one of the biggest single insurance policies taken out for one person," said a spokesman for Lloyd's broker Glencairn Limited, which arranged the insurance cover.
Another famous case of palate insurance was that of Angela Mount, when she was working as a buyer for Somerfield in 2003 (see here). In this case her palate was insured for £10 million. Should wine tasters insure their palates, or is this just a publicity stunt?
There certainly is a risk of losing some or all of your sense of taste or smell. There’s the well known case of Harry Waugh, who lost his sense of smell after a blow to the head. There’s the possibility of damage to the trigeminal nerve from dental anaesthetic.
But the majority of olfactory decline occurs simply through age. While there’s no evidence that the taste buds lose function with time, the ability to smell is gradually lost with age. It could be that some of this loss is offset by the benefits of experience as we age, but it’s a depressing thought that when we’re old, we’ll just be tasting memories!