How to choose the best wine, price is not the factor

Chinese and the Japanese are notorious for equating the price of a wine with quality. That explains why they are big consumers of the most expensive wines of the world. The joke about them is that they decide which wine to order at a restaurant after checking out the right hand side of the menu. So, does a more expensive wine taste better?

That was exactly the question my favorite website for news on the good things of life, Luxist. com, asked a few days ago, and I was relieved to read the answer: “ Yes, no, and sometimes.” Most expensive wines cash in on one of four factors: history, region, vintage or volume of production. A Bordeaux red with a hoary history produced in limited quantities in a particularly good year will naturally command a hefty price tag.

But I have a problem. I have found that all great and expensive wines, especially the reds, are ready for drinking five to ten years after they’ve been released. It’s because their tannins are still too overpowering and take time to mellow down.

These wines also must be paired with the right food if you wish to get a bigger bang for the buck. Most wine drinkers, though, are like the French or Italian peasants of the past. They pick up a bottle, or maybe a case, only if they’re determined to empty its contents with friends and family in a day or three.

Certainly, for this category of people who drink wine to have their share of uncomplicated fun, an expensive one is just not right. Tell that to the snobs! Researchers at the California Institute of Technology, says Luxist, have found that people appreciate the same wine more when they think it’s expensive.

They’ve conducted brain scans to show that drinking high- priced wine sends extra blood and oxygen to the pleasure centres of the brain. Price, in other words, determines how some people perceive the wine they drink. I think that’s foolish.

Some of the best wines I have had didn’t burn a hole in my wallet.


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