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NeuroenologyHow the Brain Creates the Taste of Wine$
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Gordon M. Shepherd

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780231177009

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231177009.001.0001

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The Final Judge in Wine Tasting

(p.162) Chapter Nineteen Pleasure

Gordon M. Shepherd

Columbia University Press

Like everything else involved in the taste of wine, the pleasure that a good wine gives is created by the brain. A half century of research has identified centers in the brain whose stimulation creates the feeling of pleasure. These are especially related to the hypothalamus, the cingulate cortex, and the deep regions of the forebrain. Current studies of these areas are distinguishing between the behavior of “liking” something, and “wanting” it. The higher sensory centers we have discussed merge into this pleasure network to constitute the “human brain flavor system”. Research has even gone so far that the pleasantness of the aroma of given molecule can be predicted from its molecular structure. The future will hold many opportunities like this to unite brain science with enology to advance our understanding of wine flavor.

Keywords:   pleasure center, basal forebrain, hypothalamus, cingulate cortex, liking, wanting, human brain flavor system, human pleasure network, principal component analysis

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