Good Wine, Not Cheap Wine

Some friends sent me a link that made me think about the above subject. I have a bit of a rant about the study in the link too. So here it is: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13072745

The title of the article, “Cheap Wine ‘Good as Pricier Bottles – Blind Taste Test” made me suspicious. The article confirmed my suspicions that the writer and whom ever conducted the study don’t know much about wine. As a former scientist, the crappy quality of the study offended me too.

Here is a quick summary if you don’t want to read the article. The study gave a group of “ordinary people” some wines in pairs of cheap and expensive. Supposedly, they were similar wines (e.g., a Chardonnay with a Chardonnay, a Pinot Noir with a Pinot Noir). The people were asked to guess, which was the expensive one? They got it right 50% of the time. The study concluded that since by “the laws of chance” people would get it right 50% of the time, there was no point for most people in buying expensive wines.

Well first to the sloppy science: They didn’t ask by what objective or subjective basis people were guessing. They assumed that the recognition rate should be 50%. That is like assuming that 50% of the people can tell the difference between the colors red and green when about 95% of us can. They simply had no basis for the assumption. Also, they didn’t ask which wine people liked better, just which one they thought cost more. It was sloppy even for pseudoscience.

OK, back to wine part. Most inexpensive wines (a description I prefer to “cheap”) are made to be ready to drink when they are released. Many more expensive wines, and most of the more expensive reds available, are released before they are ready to drink. If you are spending the money on them, you are expected to know this and to store them until they are ready. The inexpensive wine opened soon after it is bought may taste better to most people, including people into wine. Given that, I am tempted to say that the study suggests the people in the study were detecting the potential of the expensive wines. That may be what got the rate of correct guesses up to 50%; however, I will not fall into the same pseudoscience trap.

Now that I am done with my rant, there is a point I wish to make. The Wine Populist is not about inexpensive or expensive wines. It’s about enjoying wine. There are many expensive wines that I would love to drink, particularly if someone else is paying for them. There are expensive wines that I have had and that I did not care for. That can be said about inexpensive wines and the wide range in between too. Remember the Golden Rule: If you enjoy a wine, it is a good wine. You decide if it is worth the price.

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