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Do Pricey Wines Actually Taste Better?

April 14, 2011

In a blind taste test of wine drinkers, the average person could not tell high-end wine from plonk, or cheap wine, the Telegraph reports.

Describing the taste test on a variety of red and white wines ranging from a $6 bottle of Claret to a $50 bottle of champagne, researchers categorized inexpensive wines as costing $8 and less, while expensive bottles were priced at $16 and more.

Researchers found people correctly distinguished cheap and expensive white wines only 53 percent of the time, and 47 percent of the time for red wines which shows that tasting the difference between grades of wine is no better than flipping a coin.

Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at Hertfordshire University, conducted the survey at the Edinburgh International Science Festival, and claims the group was unlikely to be any worse at wine tasting than a cross-section of the general public.

“People just could not tell the difference between cheap and expensive wine. When you know the answer, you fool yourself into thinking you would be able to tell the difference, but most people simply can’t,” Wiseman told the Guardian.

“People were unable to tell expensive from inexpensive wines, and so in these times of financial hardship the message is clear ““ the inexpensive wines we tested, taste the same as their expensive counterparts.”

The wines tested included cheap and expensive brands of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Merlot, Rioja, Shiraz and Claret. A Pinot Grigio scored the highest, with 59 percent correctly deciding which was cheaper and which was not.

The Claret, which cost either $6 or $25, fooled most people with only 39 percent correctly identifying which they had tasted, reports the Guardian.

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