Kevin Vogt’s assertion that women are better tasters than men certainly has merit.
I've tasted with most of the women he mentions, and hundreds of other professionals, and more often than not there's agreement about which wines are the best and which wines lack merit or taste or are flawed.
So in my mind, it's not so much a matter of which gender is the better taster any more than which sex is the better chef: Men or women? Jacques or Julia? I think each gender has its strengths.
Even if we assume Kevin's right (and we’ll let him be for a paragraph or two), and women have superior taste buds, one intangible factor in wine evaluation, or criticism, is experience.
No matter how acute one's taste buds or taste memory might be, there’s no substitute for years (or decades) of experience.
I think it's a combination of the two: Great tasters do have sharp palates and taste memories. But they also benefit from experience.
The subject of women and wine came up the other day over lunch with a woman I'll call Kay. We talked about how women are different than men and here are some of our thoughts:
Women are not score-driven. That is, they don't pay nearly as much attention to ratings as men do.
Women are more experimental. They are, I added, more open-minded when it comes to different wines.
Women aren't snobs. Rarely do you encounter a woman who has a know-it-all attitude. The world is full of men with attitude.
Women don't overspend on wine or, more importantly, they don't think they have to spend a lot of money to enjoy wine. Many men equate price with quality.
Women aren't as defensive as men when it comes to wine. They can state their views without turning them into a personal attack.
And, of course, women are smarter.
I'm sure there are other examples of how men and women are different with their attitudes about wine that Kay and I somehow overlooked.