By Ray Isle
Updated May 23, 2017

An interesting article at Australia's The Age documents a recent test at Cal Tech, in which volunteers were served a series of Cabernet Sauvignons with no information about the wines other than prices. Or, supposed prices: Among the bottles was a $90 bottle masquerading as a $10 bottle, and a $5 bottle labeled as $45. The volunteers also had their brains scanned as they tasted. The result was that the more expensive bottles produced more neural activity in the medial orbitofrontal cortex—the area where we most likely process taste and olfactory pleasure (they also gave the more expensive wines higher scores). So, basically, if you believe the stuff is expensive, then it will taste better. An interesting argument for tasting without knowledge of a wine's price. And a powerful one for serving all your friends $10 plonk and telling them it cost $75....