Helen’s blog

Thoughts and tastings from Helen Savage, wine writer.

Wine, Gender and Belgian Chardonnay

I received an email from Vasco Croft the other day – who makes quite the best Vinho Verde I’ve yet tasted.  I gather he’d read my last blog entry and wrote, “I agree that Vinhão  is very much a wild, maybe a macho drink, “difficult” for the delicacy of feminine taste… but that is part of its original nature.”

Well, maybe; but what is all this stuff about ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ wines all about? Do women really prefer different wine to men, and is there any  evidence whatsoever to back up the assumptions the marketers seem to hold (such as pink Zinfandel is not for real men)?

I’m happy to accept that there are sometimes subtle, sometimes quite profound cultural difference that affect our taste preferences; so it’s quite possible that there may be (broad brush) gender differences too. But is there any hormonal or genetic disposition that relates gender and taste?  I still fume every time I see a lorry saying that Yorkies are not for girls …

On quite another tack, I picked up a bottle of Belgian Chardonnay at Brussels Airport last week (I was bored – which is how, I guess, those shops make most of their money). It was not worth 17 Euro, but this gently oaked little brew from North East Flanders: Wijnkasteel Genoels-Elderen, 2006 from the Appellation Controléé, Haspengouw was a creditable effort. It was lemony and clean, though with no great depth of fruit. Maybe it would have been better without its sojourn in oak and I don’t think that Chablis producers should lose much sleep, but I thought it was fun. I might even buy another bottle, though fortunately I pass through Brussels only once in a blue moon.

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