Someone could write a treatise on why some researchers seem hell-bent on proving that wine experts are full of it. The most recent is a study by John E. Hayes of Pennsylvania State University and Gary Pickering of Brock University in Ontario, Canada. Early news coverage was along the lines of "all those expert wine reviews are meaningless because most of us can't taste that stuff anyway.”
My colleague Ben O’Donnell reports on the actual paper. Having read the study, my take is that it falls in line with others of recent vintage that purport to show that experts can’t differentiate high-quality wine from rotgut, or that we always prefer a wine identified as more expensive.
You may have noticed that some sommeliers and wine directors now refer to themselves as “curators” of their wine lists. Occasionally a restaurant or wine critic may compliment a short wine list as “well-curated,” if it brims with fascinating options.
Over dinner the other night, Chris Hancock, the wily veteran of Australian wine, posed an intriguing question. We had been tasting the new line of signature wines from Robert Oatley, which for the first time included several bottlings from Western Australia and cooler regions in Victoria, in the southeast.
Hancock’s question was simple: “If you were starting a portfolio of Australian wines, what regions would you go to for the grapes?”