Wine drinkers cannot taste the difference between expensive and cheap wine in a blind test. This is apparent from a new study by an English professional among 578 wine lovers. That it could indeed be very subjective can also be seen from another study, which states that there is a direct connection between how you taste wine and the music you are listening to at that moment.
Professor of Psychology Richard Wiseman of Hertfordshire University is certain: we believe we are a monkey if we believe that expensive wine tastes better than cheap. To be clear: those more expensive wines are perhaps more qualitative, but our brains cannot really taste the difference.
Cheap vs Expensive Wine
The conclusion of Wiseman’s research is that wine drinkers can just as easily throw a coin. The test included white and red wines and sparkling wines and champagnes that vary in price from 4 euros to 35 euros. Everything under 6 euros was labeled “cheap wine” for the study, “expensive wine” was 13 euros or more.
Only in 53 percent of the cases could the wine tasters taste the difference between cheap and expensive white wine. For red wine that was only 47 percent.
“The big price differences are a real surprise. The reality is that most people cannot taste the difference between cheap and expensive wine,” says Professor Wiseman. According to Wiseman, the group of 578 tasters is representative.
“The real surprise is that it was not about small price differences. Often the more expensive wines in the test cost three times more,” says Wiseman. With Bordeaux wines that were most striking: only 39% of the tasters could guess which cost 18 euros compared to one of five euros.
The Pinot Grigio scored best, where 59% of the wine drinkers could get the expensive ones out.
Right music with the right wine
Another study, by Adrian North of Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, claims that how you taste wine depends on the music you are currently listening to. Certain types of wine, when paired with the right music, become better enjoyed. At Cabernet Sauvignon that was “powerful and heavy music”, while pop music makes your Chardonnay taste better.
If it depends on North, winemakers will soon be able to put on their labels not only the dishes that serve a wine, but also the music. Example: Cabernet Sauvignon, best with a piece of grilled meat and The Rolling Stones. Mozart and Merlot also do an excellent job together.
Around 250 wine drinkers were involved in this study. They gave the same Cabernet Sauvignon a score that was 60 percent higher when O Fortuna by Carl Orffs Carmina Burana played in the background. Four types of wine (Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Souvignon and Chardonnay) were tested against five different music genres.
The Chardonnay received a score that was 40 percent higher with pop music from, among others, Robbie Williams, Tina Turner and Kylie Minogue, than when the same tasters who drank in one of the other four rooms where a different genre could be heard.
The science behind this is called the “theory of cognitive priming”. It stipulates that different parts of our brains are sensitive to different music genres. When the wine is tasted and the music gets up, those parts of our brains are already active and that would influence our perception of taste.
Cabernet Sauvignon did better with Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones and The Who, among others. Chardonnay then again with Blondie, Robbie Williams, Tina Turner and Kylie Minogue. Shiraz scored with Puccini, Enya, Vangelis and Johann Pachelbel. Merlot then again with Otis Redding, Lionel Ritchie and Jose Gonzalez.
If both studies are correct, then this comes down to this: perhaps invest a little less money in the wine you serve at your parties, but invest a little more in your music collection.
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