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Thermal taster status associates with oral sensations elicited by wine

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Abstract Backgrounds and Aims: 

Individual differences in the perception of wine flavour may contribute to variation in wine consumer behaviour. Two phenotypes shown to associate with the intensity of oral sensations elicited by simple solutions are thermal taster status (TTS) and responsiveness to the bitterant 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP). Thermals tasters (TTs) perceive ‘phantom’ tastes when the tongue is thermally stimulated. Here, we investigate the effect of TTS and PROP responsiveness on the perceived intensity of oral sensations elicited by wine. Methods and Results: 

Two white (2008 Pinot Grigio, Italy and 2007 Gew├╝rztraminer, Canada) and two red (2007 Valpolicella, Italy and 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile) wines were assessed by 20 TTs and 20 thermal non-tasters (TnTs). TTs rated the intensities of sweet, sour, bitter, astringent and overall flavour higher than TnTs, and males (17) tended to rate these sensations higher than females (23). Unexpectedly, PROP responsiveness was not associated with intensity ratings of oral sensations for any wine (P(r) > 0.05). Neither TTS, PROP responsiveness, nor gender was linked with liking scores of the wines. Conclusion: 

TTS may be an important determinant of individual differences in oral perception of wine. Significance of Study: 

Understanding how individuals differ in their perception of wine can assist with product development, formulation and marketing.
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Keywords: psychophysics; taste genetics; thermal taste; wine flavour

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biological Sciences, 2: Department of Psychology, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario L2S 3A1, Canada

Publication date: 2010-06-01

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