Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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spitting is an essential practice at professional tastings where several dozen, often more than 100, wines are regularly offered at the same time. Members of the wine trade, and wine writers, rapidly lose any inhibitions about spitting in public. Since there are no taste receptors in the throat, spitting allows the taster to form a full impression of each wine, while minimizing the blunting effects of alcohol. It does not, unfortunately, leave the taster completely unaffected by alcohol. Some ethanol is vaporized and absorbed in the nose and mouth and, no matter how assiduous the taster, it can also be extremely difficult to prevent any liquid from dribbling down the throat. According to the estimates of this writer, tasting 30 wines can involve ingesting almost a glass of wine, depending on the personal mechanics of tasting.