Wine Blind Tasting Quiz

We thought we’d cap our six-part series on blind tasting with a fun blind tasting quiz.

This is the very same quiz that we recently published in The Drinks Business. But this time, we include the answers at the bottom of the page.

Bonne chance!

1. On average, how many taste buds are there on the human tongue?

A. 500

B. 1,000

C. 5,000

D. 15,000

E. 25,000

2. The olfactory bulb is part of which area of the brain?

A. Limbic system

B. Frontal cortex

C. Thalamus

D. Hypothalamus

E. Pituitary gland

3. Which of these wines might be expected to be the most aromatic?

A. Riesling Kabinett from the Mosel

B. Alsatian Pinot Gris

C. Alsatian Gewurztraminer

D. Chablis

E. Savennières

4. Which of the following class of volatile compounds could be responsible for an aroma of soap?

A. Fusel oils

B. Short-chain esters

C. Long-chain esters

D. Aldehydes

E. Pyrazines

5. Which of these acids can make a wine smell of rancid butter or baby vomit?

A. Lactic acid

B. Butyric acid

C. Acetic acid

D. Malic acid

E. Succinic acid

6. Which of these beverages might be expected to contain the least amount of residual sugar?

A. Sauternes

B. Sweet (‘Doux’) Champagne

C. Coca Cola

D. Cream Sherry

E. Tokaj, 4 Puttonyos

7. Which of these wines is often aged in American oak?

A. Hermitage

B. Chianti

C. Taurasi

D. Priorat

E. Barossa Shiraz

8. Which of these descriptors is not associated with Brettanomyces?

A. Sweaty saddle

B. Nail varnish

C. Sticking plaster

D. Rancid cheese

E. A metallic note

9. All of these denominations sit in a natural south-facing amphitheatre except

A. Cornas

B. Piesporter Goldtröpfchen

C. Château-Grillet

D. Hermitage

E. Quarts-de-Chaume

10. Who said, ‘The limits of my language mean the limits of my world’?

A. Noam Chomsky

B. Cicero

C. Ludwig Wittgenstein

D. Sir Winston Churchill

E. Aunt Lily (Lily Bollinger)

11. Name one wine that fits the following tasting note. Suggest its age.

  • Deep gold and intense in colour.
  • Dense, concentrated nose with a complex bouquet of mushroom, leather, honey, butterscotch, confected pear, peach, nutmeg, and white 
  • Intensely sweet on the palate with notes of peach, fig, date, and butterscotch.
  • Full-bodied with moderate alcohol and moderate-to-low acidity.
  • High residual sugar.
  • Very long and tapered savoury finish that echoes the earlier aromas and flavours.
  • A wonderfully complex sweet wine. The sweetness fades to a savoury,
dry finish. The one slight damper is that the moderate-to-low acidity does not quite stand up to the high residual sugar.

12. Name one wine that fits the following tasting note. Suggest its age.

  • In colour, medium-deep purple in the centre and brick-red at the rim.
  • Moderately aromatic with jammy blackcurrant and mulberry fruit,
meaty notes, and a hint of menthol, coconut, and sweet spice.
  • Dry and full-bodied with high alcohol and low acidity.
  • Intense jammy black fruit flavours with coconut and milk chocolate.
  • Tannins moderate in quantity, with a soft and velvety quality.
  • Moderate length with a finish dominated by fruit flavours and
  • Overall, a complex wine with clear development, but let down by low 
acidity relative to full body and high alcohol.

13. Assuming they are typical, how might one distinguish a red wine from Ribera del Duero from one from Priorat? (Up to 100 words)

14. Do women make better blind tasters than men? Explain your reasoning. (Up to 100 words)

15. Wine is not about the objectivity of taste, but about the subjectivity of experience. By removing a wine from its context, blind tasting turns it into a mere commodity. What do you think? (Up to 200 words)




1C, 2A, 3C, 4C, 5B, 6B, 7E, 8B, 9D, 10C

11. 30-year-old Pinot Gris SGN from Alsace

12. 8-year old Cabernet Sauvignon from Calif


About Neel Burton

Neel Burton is a psychiatrist, philosopher, writer, and wine-lover who lives and teaches in Oxford, England. He is the author of several books, including The Meaning of Madness and The Art of Failure: The Anti Self-Help Guide. You can find Neel on Twitter and Facebook, and at
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