Want that wine to taste better? Add a pinch of this.

on 26/03/14 at 1:30 pm


imagesNathan Myhrvold, Microsoft’s former chief strategist and chief technology officer, has a tip to make a glass of red wine taste better: Add a pinch of salt.

Myhrvold — who holds degrees in mathematics, geophysics and space physics from UCLA, a doctorate in theoretical and mathematical physics and a master’s degree in mathematical economics from Princeton — made the discovery after a few glasses of wine at a dinner.

“I was sitting next to Gina Gallo, from the Gallo wine- making family,” Myhrvold says in an interview in London. “She’s telling me what she values in a cabernet is the savory tones, so she tries not to have them be sweet or too fruity.

”I’d had enough wine by this point that I was a little incautious. I said, ‘I can make it more savory.’ So I added a little salt to the wine. There’s nothing I could have done that would have shocked her so much.” She then grabbed the glass from his hand, he recalls, and said ‘It totally changes it.”

“I start by adding just a tiny pinch and what it does is to balance the flavors. With most wines, they immediately taste smoother.

“We have many different types of flavor receptors,” he said. ”People say there’s sweet, sour, bitter, umami. In reality, there are at least 40 types of receptors and probably more. When you taste something, you have this cacophony of different tastes and your brain tries to summarize that. A tiny bit of salt changes the overall impression, which is why chefs salt food.”