As most of us have experienced, we eat not only with our mouth, but also with our eyes.
Wine color is the first characteristic evaluated by sommeliers and wine experts. It gives an expectation of what you are about to drink and activates memories in your brain.
Because of these brain memories, often, reliance of color can induce in wine expert a color-induced olfactory bias.
Recently, Wang demonstrated the impact of these expectation in human capacity to describe and properly assess a wine.
The researchers asked 168 participants, both wine expert and non-expert, to taste a white wine (W), a rosè wine (R) and the white wine dyed to match the rose (Ŕ).
Participants had to select three aroma and three flavor descriptors from a given list; they also rated the wines according to liking and flavor intensity.
Results showed that wine experts tended to judge Ŕ to be much more similar to R than to W, even if Ŕ was actually W.
Regarding the descriptors, red fruit features were attributed to R and Ŕ, but nor W.
Participants found Ŕ to be different from W and more similar to R, indicating the importance of cognitive representations of wine in our mind. Wine color has indeed a role in shaping smell and flavor assessment.
Remember, your eyes are important, but trust the sensations in your mouth.
Wang et al., “Drinking through rosé-coloured glasses: Influence of wine colour on the perception of aroma and flavour in wine experts and novices” Food Research International, (2019), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2019.108678
Visual guide for wine color evaluation: http://socialvignerons.com/2017/12/08/wine-color-complete-visual-guide/