In his new book, Gordon M. Shepherd expands on the startling discovery that the brain creates the taste of wine. This approach to understanding wine's sensory experience draws on findings in neuroscience, biomechanics, human physiology, and traditional enology. Shepherd shows, just as he did in Neurogastronomy: How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters, that creating the taste of wine engages more of the brain than does any other human behavior. He clearly illustrates the scientific underpinnings of this process, along the way enhancing our enjoyment of wine.
Neuroenology is the first book on wine tasting by a neuroscientist. It begins with the movements of wine through the mouth and then consults recent research to explain the function of retronasal smell and its extraordinary power in creating wine taste. Shepherd comprehensively explains how the specific sensory pathways in the cerebral cortex create the memory of wine and how language is used to identify and imprint wine characteristics. Intended for a broad audience of readers – from amateur wine drinkers to sommeliers, from casual foodies to seasoned chefs – Neuroenology shows how the emotion of pleasure is the final judge of the wine experience. It includes practical tips for a scientifically informed wine tasting and closes with a delightful account of Shepherd's experience tasting classic Bordeaux vintages with French winemaker Jean-Claude Berrouet of the Chateau Petrus and Dominus Estate.
Introduction: A New Approach to Wine Tasting
Part I. Fluid Dynamics of Wine Tasting
1. Sip and Saliva
2. The Tongue: Moving the Wine
3. Respiration and Wine Aromas
4. The Pathway for Retronasal Airflow
5. Swallow, Aroma Burst, and Finish
Part II. How Sensory Systems Create the Taste of Wine
6. Sight: Creating the Color of Wine
7. Orthonasal Smell: Wine Molecules Meet Smell Receptors
8. Orthonasal Smell: Creating a Wine Aroma Image
9. Orthonasal Smell: From Odor Image to Aroma Perception
10. Touch and the Mouthfeel of Wine
11. Taste Modalities and Wine Tasting
12. Creating Taste Perception
13. Retronasal Smell: The Hidden Force in Wine Tasting
14. Retronasal Smell: What Is So Special?
15. Retronasal Smell: Creating the Multisensory Wine Flavor
Part III. How Central Brain Systems Create the Pleasure of the Taste of Wine
16. Wine Tasting, Gender, and Aging
17. Memory and Wine Tasting
18. The Language of Wine Tasting
19. Pleasure: The Final Judge in Wine Tasting
20. Practical Applications of Neuroenology to the Pleasure of Wine Tasting
Appendix. A Wine-Tasting Tutorial with Jean-Claude Berrouet
Gordon M. Shepherd is professor of neuroscience at the Yale School of Medicine and former editor in chief of the Journal of Neuroscience. His books include Neurogastronomy: How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters (Columbia, 2012), Handbook of Brain Microcircuits (2010), and Creating Modern Neuroscience: The Revolutionary 1950s (2009).
"Shepherd provides a valuable and interesting glimpse into the human side of science and its inherently cross-disciplinary nature. After having read Neuroenology, every sniff, bite and gulp, will create a moment of reflection on how complex and wonderfully mysterious the human brain is."
– Christopher R. Loss, Culinary Institute of America
"By unifying knowledge scattered across plant biology, microbiology, viticulture, chemistry, neuroscience, and the humanities, Neuroenology founds the new science of how the taste of wine is created, not in the glass but in the brain. This book is a must for all serious wine connoisseurs, practitioners, neuroscientists, students, or simply epicureans enjoying one of life's pleasures. Let's have a toast to Gordon Shepherd and his marvelous new book!"
– Pierre-Marie Lledo, The Pasteur Institute, coauthor of The Custom-Made Brain
"Savoring wine is perhaps the quintessential human multimodal experience, combining as it does vision, touch, taste, smell and even audition into a magnificent single aesthetic experience. Shepherd's enthusiasm in exploring this meeting of neural science and sensory input is infectious. He provides readers with a novel perspective that will enhance their appreciation of the pleasures of tasting fine wines, and inspire scientists and laypersons alike to test his hypotheses and extend his analyses."
– Gary Beauchamp, Monell Chemical Senses Center
"In Neuroenology, Gordon Shepherd presents the complexities of sipping and moving wine in the mouth, how we perceive the smell of wine and how those stimuli interact in the brain to produce the final perception of wine flavor. A serious wine enthusiast can learn a lot from this review of wine tasting."
– Ann Noble, creator of the Wine Aroma Wheel
"Shepherd manages to present sometimes incredibly technical information in a clear, concise and highly readable way, and inject it with a sense of wonder and excitement."
– Max Allen, Financial Review