If you can, take some time to read this great article in a Nature supplement by wine-loving philosophy professor Barry Smith. It discusses whether the flavour (or taste) of a wine is the property of the wine or not.
This may seem a slightly self-indulgent academic discussion, but it has important implications for how we approach wine tasting. Is the taste in the wine? Or is it a private experience unique to each taster? Can we really compare our experiences as we drink a bottle of wine together? Or are we operating in different taste worlds?
The central question, then, is this: how should we adjudicate between those who say that flavours depend on molecular compounds, and those who stress the varying perceptions of individual eaters and drinkers?
I agree and disagree with Barry, and in the next few days will post a response to his excellent piece. But I’d love to know what readers think.