On average they were found to be roughly 33 per cent more likely to buy it. But then professional wine-tasters are also heavily influenced by factors other than taste.According to separate studies, they consistently give the same wine different ratings when presented with it twice, almost always preferring it when they are told it is more expensive.
Doesn’t it also have a lot to do with the human herd instinct, the fame of the artist, the knowledge that everything he painted is worth a bomb and the reputation of Girl At A Window as the artwork that’s been stolen more often than any other in the country?Indeed, though I’m no David Attenborough, I’d suggest we are the only creatures on this Earth whose very senses — the way we see, taste, smell, hear and feel — are profoundly influenced by the guidance of others.The point was brought home vividly this week in a fascinating study by the University of Adelaide in Australia, which found that wine actually tastes better to the human palate if the drinker has first heard it described in flowery language by someone else.All of which has set me wondering about my own moment of revelation, when I understood for the first time what oenophiles were on about when they went into raptures over a fine wine. As I’ve described before, it came in France on my 19th birthday, when the patron of the hotel where I was working in my gap year presented me with a bottle of Chateau Latour, vintage 1953 — my birth year.My first sip told me that this was the most exquisite liquid ever to have slipped down my throat, or ever likely to again. If the scientists’ findings are to be believed, the answer is probably a bit of both.
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