Joel Vincent

Technology. Wine. Family. (maybe not in that order)

Lust & Wine – Pinot Noir a human pheromone?

Talk about Enjoying the Wine Life, a recent article by Ben Canaider in Wine X Magazine puts forth a theory that men and women pairing off is a difficult task and this is “why God, Allah and Buddha got together and invented wine; they knew that nothing else besides this powerful elixir would help keep bringing the two sexes together. ”

There is the obvious reason behind this theory in that alcohol is greasing the skids a bit, of course, but there is more to it when you look deeper at wine, pheromones, and the human olfactory organ (or sense of smell).


The article states:

the smells of wine (of which there are myriad, and all generated by the combination of hundreds of organic compounds that reside in every single glass) help unlock these desires, feelings, and all-too natural urges.

Basically the theory is that the smells associate with some wines are chemically close to human pheromones and therefore stimulate a sexual response that goes beyond simply getting people liquored up.

With a certain air of fascinating mystery, the smells of wine (of which there are myriad, and all generated by the combination of hundreds of organic compounds that reside in every single glass) help unlock these desires, feelings, and all-too natural urges. Descriptors such as earth and hay, game, briar, blackberry, nettles, bacon, bay leaf, nutmeg, and cinnamon might not read like some sort of erotic story, but when coupled with the physiological and psychological effects of alcohol they can turn the short, wide and mousy blond accounts girl into Cindy Crawford. And it doesn’t necessarily take big buck wines to do it.

The article goes on to explain the association betwen wine and human pheromones:

Pheromones travel by air or water, and they serve to attract members of the same species, or to deter or even frighten them away … Recent research and unfounded marketing hype in the US has suggested that the pheromones in certain grape varieties – particularly pinot noir – are remarkably similar to some human sex pheromones. All those smells you get in the pinot noir grape – spices, earth, musk and the slightly feral, barnyard notes – are very similar smells to those associated with the principal male smell, androstenone. Truffles and the sort of oaky smells in so much wine fermented or matured in new oak barrels are similarly androstenone-like. Can this explain the world-wide love affair for heavily oaked wine? Is Roxburgh Chardonnay like wine porn – all cleavage and lipstick and a loose adductor muscle? Is this why cabernet sauvignon became so popular all around the world in the opulent 80s – because it was full of that gradually rotting vanilla/wood odour? Talk about going back to the primordial swamp… But whilst androstenone is the key male smell (women produce it in tinier amounts), what about the female, or girl smell, as we say in these times of greater gender equality?

While I can’t state with scientific certainty that there is something to this but the smells associated with a good wine are undeniably part of the attraction to wine over other alcoholic beverages. Even those who don’t necessarily enjoy drinking wine actually do enjoy the way it smells. Maybe WineX Magazine is on to something here…couldn’t hurt to test their theories :)…

Read more…

PHOTOS: Anthony Geernaert

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