ONE MAN’S nectar is another man’s poison. That may be a saying or perhaps I made it up.
When it comes down to enjoying wine – and I’ve said it here before – the bottom line is personal taste.
Who knows how much money is spent by Mrs Bloggs buying a wine her husband Joe says is fab – only for Mrs Bloggs to disagree and hit him over the head with a wet copy of the Liverpool Post.
With this in mind, when Morrisons wine entered the online wine market a few weeks ago with www.morrisonscellar.com, the chain included an interactive “taste test” tool developed with Bibendum. It aims to help people buy wine to match their tastebuds.
The retailer proclaims: “Having analysed the wine-buying habits of 10,000 UK wine drinkers, Morrisons discovered people need help choosing wines with confidence they know they’ll love when they open the bottle. With our unique taste test we’ll help you find the wines that your tastebuds will delight in.”
I had to give it a go. It would have been rude not to. To take part, you click on the Morrisons Taste Test questions directly, or follow a video hosted by a “cheeky chappie” no doubt chosen because of his “normal bloke” persona. Either way the questions are the same.
Your favourite hot drink; soft drink preferences and how, if and when you add salt to food. You make your choices, then you’re graded within one of four flavour profiles – Sweet: 0-3; Fresh: 4-6; Smooth: 7-9; Intense: 10 -12.
I was Smooth. The only time in my life, possibly. I’m a Smooth 7.
Cheeky Chappie is on a video clip explaining the science. People have a different number of tastebuds. Those with fewer tastebuds are “non-tasters” so they need bold, intense flavours. People with many tastebuds are “supertasters” and they prefer sweet or floral wines.
Then there’s people like me, in the middle, who have a penchant for fresh, smooth, wines.
Is the proof in the pudding – perhaps, but instead of pudding I tried some “Smooth 7” wines as indicated on the site. Science says you can go up or down a level and still be happy. Here goes.
- Macon-Verze 2010 (£8.99) Described as “a beautifully balanced, melon- and citrus-tinged hefty French Chardonnay”. Well I don’t go for “hefty” chardonnay but by accident or design this was spot on for me. Lightly honeyed with good acidity and hints of pineapple.
- Irony Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (£19.99). A Smooth 100 Per Cent. Morning fog helps the pernickety pinot noir grapes develop in California but once in the glass juicy notes of strawberries and raspberries punch with fruity clarity.
- Novas Viognier (£9.99, Smooth 7). I love viognier; this one is from one of the most prominent organic and biodynamic estates in Chile, Emiliana. Peaches and almonds mingle in creamy heaven. I think I’m still on course with my Smooth 7s … unless …
- Spy Valley Envoy Chardonnay 2009 (£17.99) “elegant citrus and flint” says the website. Spy Valley is so-called because of a satellite monitoring station nearby. I wish I could say it made me feel out of this world, but chardonnay fermented in barrels – in this instance for a year, with lees stirring – is not my favourite thing. Saying that, there’s no disputing the elegance of this nutty, creamy wine which won a silver at the International Wine Challenge in 2011.
It’s just not suited to my tastebuds. Ah. How fickle we are.
This column first appeared in the Liverpool Post on January 11 2013