If only we had a dollar for every time we awkwardly stood there in the supermarket aisle for 30 minutes, racking our brains about which bottle of wine to get. You probably know the feeling.
Most often, it all comes down to one simple question: "Cheap or expensive?"
Despite the fact that choosing the right wine is a tough task, most people tend to rely on the price and believe that the more bucks they spend, the better it will be.
To prove how bad an idea that actually is, news site Vox did a little wine tasting experiment.
19 participants were asked to taste three samples of wine made from the same Cabernet Sauvignon grape. Their goal was to guess which wine was the most expensive.
Almost half correctly identified the most expensive bottle. But rating the same wines based on their taste had some interesting results.
The average ratings for the cheapest and the most expensive wine were the same.
According to Vox, these results are consistent with previous research where more than 6,000 people were asked to blind-taste and rate their favorite wines. Answers showed that majority of respondents didn't really enjoy the subtle taste of expensive wines and preferred cheaper ones instead.
This can be explained by the fact that expensive wines are usually more mature and, naturally, more complex and pungent in taste. Unless you have a trained palette, it is hard to appreciate the earthy, acidic tones because our taste buds are "pre-programmed" to enjoy or repel certain tastes.
"Sweet means energy; sour means not ripe yet. Savory means food may contain protein. Bitter means caution, as many poisons are bitter. Salty means sodium, a necessary ingredient for several functions in our bodies," scientist Marcia Pelchat told The Washington Post.
But don't write off your taste buds just yet. Truth is, even acclaimed wine critics have trouble keeping it straight.
Vox mentions an experiment where critics were secretly given the same wine three times in a row and had to rate its taste. 9 out of 10 changed their opinion every single time.
Judging wine becomes even more complex when the price factor comes in. Research shows that our brain responds more actively when it "knows" that the wine is expensive.
Our brain deludes itself by letting the price factor overpower our taste buds. It takes the "knowledge" that pricier is better and connects it to the region associated with pleasant taste and smell.
So, as Vox puts it, "expensive wine might taste better after all. As long as you know that it is expensive."
Watch the full video below to learn more about wine and why you should embrace your "cheap taste."
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