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Women considered more discerning tasters, finds study

A study at the Technical University of Madrid has added further weight to the theory that women are naturally better wine tasters than men.

Women were found to be more discerning about the differences between wines, while men had a greater emotional responses to what they tasted

Researchers from the university, led by Dr Caroline Chaya, asked 208 volunteers to take part in blind taste tests of six wines: two whites, one rose and three reds.

“In general, men reported higher scores on significant emotions than women for all the wines,” she said. “But women, although they gave generally lower ratings than men, reported greater differences between the wines.”

The study, published in the scientific journal Food Quality and Preference, also examined the effects of age on the emotional response to wine tasting, with older drinkers more likely to enjoy any glass of wine whatever its quality or style.

“Also, regarding age segments, all of the wines evoked significantly higher scores in older adults than in middle-aged and young adults for most emotional terms. However, young adults showed higher discrimination between wines than the other age groups, in terms of emotional responses towards the set of wines tested in this study.”

Overall, the study found that wines with fruity and floral aromas elicited more positive emotions, while liquorice, clove and vanilla stirred up more negative emotions.

The findings follow another study in 2014 which also found that women were naturally better tasters than men, according to Dr Deborah Parker, beer sommelier and associate director at UK sensory research specialists Marketing Sciences.

Speaking to the drinks business at the company’s Sensory Science Testing and Research Centre in Kent, Parker said that the firm’s team of sensory panellists were all women.

The people chosen to assess food and drink products at Marketing Sciences are selected after an initial test, which sees whether they can differentiate between five basic tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami.

Parker recorded, “Only 10%-15% of the population have the sensory acuity to be a sensory taste panellist… and when we give consumers a sensory test, women always do better.”

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