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Does Wine Taste better the More It Costs?

Wine Wine, we know, gets better with age - but does it actually taste better the more it costs? Researchers at the California Institute of Technology have shown that a person's enjoyment of wine can be heightened if they are simply told that it is an expensive one. Expectation is a huge part of wine appreciation before you take a first sip, enhanced by the label, the price, the vintage.

Twenty-one volunteers were asked to sample different bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon and rate the ones they preferred. The only information they were given was the price of the wine - but in a number of cases, they were not told the real price. In one case, the volunteers were given two identical red wines to drink and were told that one cost much less than the other.

Most described the "higher priced" wine as much more enjoyable. The research team also managed to pass off a $90 (£46) bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon as a $10 bottle and presented a $5 as one worth $45.

The volunteers' brains were scanned to monitor the neural activity in the medial orbitofrontal cortex - the area of the brain associated with decision-making and pleasure in terms of flavor. Higher ratings were given to the more "expensive" wines.

Posted by Casey Kazan.



Most wine does not improve with age. There are relative few, sometimes expensive, that benefit when aged in proper conditions, ie. temperature, humidity, lighting, etc., the majority are meant to be enjoyed when in their exuberant youth, fresh, pure, and vibrant. In the controlled circumstance of the study, one may assume the participants were chosen not as randomly as, say, customers in a wine shop, where some are novice to the complexities and nuance of expensive wine, but rather shared some knowledge of the subject. In real life encounters with those wishing to discover the additional pleasures a glass of wine might bring to life, price is less important than taste. The study shows the less expensive sometimes does better. Wine of more appreciable value, in its youth, may not taste as pleasant to those unaware of the process, tannin being the most apparent.

ever have a real expensive wine?
Usually exquisite.

Who were the volunteers? Anyone with any experience with wine would judge by complexity not price. Inexpensive wines can be pleasant but simple. If a wine is fascinating, nuanced and layered it doesn't matter about price but such a bottle should be valued. A wine drinker can tell!

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