Now a new study conducted by the University of Adelaide, suggests that the language used on the label of a bottle of wine could be so important to appreciate it as the taste of the wine itself.
Taste is not only found in taste buds
The researchers recruited 126 people who regularly drank wine and presented them a selection of the three most popular white wines in Australia: Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc.
At the first tasting session they were asked to evaluate the taste of the wines. A week later there was a second encounter, but in fact the participants returned to taste the same wines, before reading a very basic description and then a much more “elaborate and emotional” description. The trick lies in the fact that people were convinced to taste six different wines, while in reality were always the same three from the beginning.
For example, a basic Riesling description said “pale of yellow-green color”, while a more complete description was “a refreshing taste of lemon and lime accompanied by delicate floral aromas of jasmine, from a family-run vineyard where wine is produced since 145 years”. In addition, were included phrases such as “a respectful homage to our ancestors” and “produced with hand-picked fruits from our very high quality vineyards”.
Surprisingly, the most elaborate descriptions of the wines, which included information on the history of the cellar and a positive feedback on the quality of the wine, made people prefer them to others. In fact, the participants were 30% more likely to buy the wines with the most elaborate descriptions.
The participants considered that the wine was better, more delicious and more expensive if the description included details about the history of the cellar and analyzed in detail the flavor. Conversely, when the same wines were presented without descriptions, they got worse reviews.
Undoubtedly, when choosing products we focus mostly on their presentation, description, and price, which end up affecting our perception of flavor. We have the idea that the most expensive products are always the best, so this belief acts as a sort of placebo effect that deceives the brain and makes us think that the flavor is better.
Danner, L. et. Al. (2017) “I like the sound of that!” Wine descriptions influence consumers’ expectations, liking, emotions and willingness to pay for Australian white wines. Food Research International.