jamie goode's wine blog

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Teaching children to drink well

Another BBC News article:

'French schools should teach children the virtues of drinking wine, a report by France's governing party says. The report says children who learn how wines are "cultivated and transformed to acquire their taste" are more likely to stay healthy and respect nature'.

Read the full article here. Sounds great.

This raises the issue of whether learning about wine enhances its enjoyment. I think it does. I also think that as you learn about wine, the nature of the perceptive event (your 'experience') of wine changes. Simplistically speaking, there are two levels of appreciating wine. There's the immediate appreciation of 'niceness' (hedonic valence is the posh term). This is where you say to youself, 'yum, that's delicious', or 'yuk, I don't like that'. But then there's the intellectual level of appreciation, where we call on our past experience and context, and also our intellectual understanding of the wine we are tasting. These thoughts might be more along the lines of 'this is well a balanced St Julien, showing good typicity, a bit of minerality and nice acidity as well as rich fruit; it's quite a young wine, with some development potential ahead of it'. In truth, our assessments usually take both forms, and they are richer for it.

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