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Exemplarity measurement and estimation of the level of interjudge agreement for two categories of French red wines

Loison, Aurélie, Symoneaux, Ronan, Deneulin, Pascale, Thomas-Danguin, Thierry, Fant, Christine, Guérin, Laurence, Le Fur, Yves
Food quality and preference 2015 v.40 pp. 240-251
cognition, professionals, red wines, statistics, France
Exemplarity measurements of wines by at least 20 judges are used to estimate the degree of interjudge (dis)agreement and to tell wines apart into two contrasting extremes. Two sets of French red wines – Pinot noir from Burgundy and Cabernet franc from the Loire Valley – are studied separately but by the same approach. Short-listing criteria are used to collate 40 starting-price and middle-range wines for each set differing a priori in olfactory terms. Wine professionals assess their local wines first orthonasally and then, independently, by global evaluation. A pool of descriptive and inferential statistics indicates there is generally neither complete divergence nor real agreement among judges. For Burgundy Pinot noir, the weak agreement observed and measured for orthonasal evaluation strengthens slightly for global evaluation. Contrariwise, for Loire Valley Cabernet franc wines, agreement is poorer for global evaluation than for olfactory evaluation. With orthonasal evaluation, responses are more consistent for Cabernet franc than for Pinot noir, whereas for global evaluation, the levels of interjudge agreement are of the same order for both sets of wines. The subjectivity of sensory responses is interpreted for each situation. The personal judgment of exemplarity (or typicality) may therefore be defined as a demanding cognitive decision varying with the circumstances of the experiment and responding to a process of perceptual categorization based on previous knowledge and on an intuitive comparison between a sample and an abstract but conscious image of the category. Agreement among judges is sufficient to bipolarize the wines. As the power to discriminate among the wines is related to the level of interjudge agreement, bipolarization is most marked for the Cabernet franc wines evaluated by olfactory evaluation.