Everyone’s feigned some knowledge when tasting expensive wine, especially while seated at a nice restaurant. But if you’re out to dinner and the waiter brings along a selection of wine to taste, it’s best to have a woman in your party take a sip. That’s according to a new study published in the journal Food Quality and Preference suggesting that men have a strong emotional reaction to the taste of wine, but struggle to discern the difference.
The study queried 208 participants, asking them to take part in blind taste tests of six different types of wines: one rosé, two whites, and three reds. The researchers hoped to gain some insight into the relationship between taste and the way wine makes you feel, as well as the differences across gender and age demographics.
They found that, in general, men felt stronger emotional responses to every wine that was tasted; women, however, were more attuned to the differences between the types of wine.
These findings corroborate a long history of previous research that suggests the same — women are just better at wine tasting than men. Some studies suggest that women’s sense of smell is sharper, which could affect their ability to taste. In fact, a study from Brazil showed that women might actually have more olfactory cells than men, making them biologically superior sniffers.
“If you take someone who is in training to be a sommelier or cicerone, and if they are focusing on becoming attuned to what is in the beer or wine — the smells and the tastes — women may have an edge on discerning low-level underlying cues,” Dr. Paul Breslin, a researcher at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, told VinePair. Women tend to consume more wine than men, as well. According to an analysis from 2016, women consume 57 percent of all wine bottles sold in the United States.
This newest study also showed that certain types of wines are associated with eliciting certain emotions. Fruity and floral blends tended to inspire positive emotions, while licorice, clove, and vanilla notes inspired negative or neutral emotions.
But no matter the taste, a woman’s palette was always more precise. To a female guest, these 25 best wine lists in America are likely less of a mystery.