This is not true, says a new study, with one in five Britons who have tried red wine reporting a different flavour than the one they were given.
The study, published in the Journal of Wine Science, found that, on average, Britons who had eaten red wine reported the taste of red wine to be more complex and more floral than the wine they had been given.
But, the researchers said, this did not translate into a difference in flavour.
‘Not as good’ There are a few caveats to the study’s findings.
The researchers, led by Prof Peter Feltman of the University of Sussex, wanted to investigate how wine was consumed in the UK, so their research could not be generalised.
“The majority of Britons who ate red wine during the period studied were women,” Prof Feltmerer said.
“We did not expect to find an association between wine consumption and taste, but our results did indicate a relationship between the amount of red in a food and its taste.”
The researchers also found that while people who had tried wine reported a different colour to those who had not, this was not necessarily because the wine had been diluted.
“It could be that those who were more likely to have eaten red were more aware of their wine, and therefore less likely to detect colour differences,” they said.
And, even if this is true, the amount and flavour of wine consumed did not correlate with the amount or flavour of the wine eaten.
The taste of wine The researchers were also curious to know how the different flavours were perceived by those who did and did not eat red wine.
In this study, which measured the taste and aroma of wine, they looked at the effect of red wines on different people.
“Our aim was to see whether, and how, different people perceive different flavours and aromas, based on how much red they ate,” said Prof Feltsman.
“To do this we measured the aroma of a cup of red and white wine by measuring its chemical compounds, which includes the aromatic compounds, carbon dioxide, and other constituents that are produced by the wine.
We then asked whether they thought the taste was similar to the taste or more complex, and if they thought that the flavour was similar or more different.”
Our findings suggest that the average person perceives the taste more complex than the flavour.
“This means that the majority of people who have eaten wine reported that they had eaten a less complex flavour than what they were presented with.”
Prof Felsman said the results were a “surprise”, and that they suggested that the taste might be more varied than we thought.
The main difference was that the people who ate the most red wine had the least positive impressions of their own.
“If we think about it from a biological perspective, when we are exposed to a particular chemical, it is the taste that is the most important component, and the more complex the chemical is, the more it is perceived as being ‘better’, ” he said.
This is because it is “chemically appealing”.
‘Very subtle’ In addition, the research also showed that those people who did not consume red wine did not experience any significant differences in the colour of the flavour that they experienced.
“They have a very subtle impression of the colour and aroma, and it is a little bit different from what we normally associate with a wine,” he said, “but the overall flavour is not very different from other wines, so the differences in flavour are not as noticeable.”
There are several ways to interpret this, Prof Feling said.
Some people might have a sense that the flavours in a wine are less complex, but that this is because they had consumed the same amount of wine and tasted it more complex.
“In the wine lab, there is a sense of being overwhelmed with all the different compounds in the wine, so we have a lot of different compounds to work with,” he explained.
But there was also a lot that could be said about the taste itself.
“There is a lot more information than we typically get from tasting a wine, for example in terms of the different types of flavours and odours,” he continued.
“What we found is that the overall impression that people have of the taste is quite subtle.”
The research also suggested that when people did not drink red wine, the colour that they perceived was not as complex as that of the other types of wine they consumed.
“While it was not clear to us that the effect was due to the colour, it was possible that the colour could be a factor,” he added.
“Other than the red colour, there was no difference in the flavour of red versus white wine.”
‘Not all wine is the same’ The researchers found that people who were drinking red wine tended to perceive it to be slightly more complex in colour than the other wines they consumed, but also to have less complex flavours.
“Red wine has a lot in common