Midwestern girl in search of good food and good health!
Psychologist Richard Wiseman recently doled out free wine for almost 600 people to find out if they could tell the economical bottles from the pricey vintages. 53% of the time they correctly guessed on whites; 47% of the time they correctly guessed on reds. Wiseman says this is the same result he would see if it were just a blind guess, meaning most people can’t distinguish artisan wine from Franzia. “When you know the answer, you fool yourself into thinking you would be able to tell the difference, but most people simply can’t,” said Wiseman.
What does this mean? Do most of us lack the refined palate needed to critique wine? Are there no real differences between well-crafted wine and wine churned out by novices? Are we just easily duped by a fancy price?
A new Freakonomics Podcast boasts that their economists have the answer. They conclude that the most dominant flavor in wine is the dollar – since people derive more enjoyment from expensive wine when they’re aware of the price. I recommend listening to the podcast or at least perusing this research they go off of from Robin Goldstein, who has scrutinized more than 6,000 blind tastings to support their conclusion.
I’ve had really good bottles of $8 wine, putrid $5 bottles, over-hyped $100 bottles and world-changing expensive glasses. My thought is, maybe price isn’t indicative of quality, but the work that went in and/or the profit the business is looking to get out.
If you think there are marked differences in price-ranged wines and want to prove that you can tell the difference, challenge yourself at a specialty wine class. My favorite Kansas City wine store, Cellar Rat Wine Merchants hold a recurring class called $10 vs. $100 (though they think a more appropriate name would be “Is it really worth it?”). They promise a fun learning experience with great value wines from around the world and over $300 worth of the stuff to compare. To find a class near you, visit LocalWineEvents.com.