Scott Alexander in Asterisk Magazine:
Your classiest friend invites you to dinner. They take out a bottle of Chardonnay that costs more than your last vacation and pour each of you a drink. They sip from their glass. “Ah,” they say. “1973. An excellent vintage. Notes of avocado, gingko and strontium.” You’re not sure what to do. You mumble something about how you can really taste the strontium. But internally, you wonder: Is wine fake?
A vocal group of skeptics thinks it might be. The most eloquent summary of their position is The Guardian’s “Wine-Tasting: It’s Junk Science,” which highlights several concerning experiments:
In 2001 Frédérick Brochet of the University of Bordeaux asked 54 wine experts to test two glasses of wine – one red, one white. Using the typical language of tasters, the panel described the red as “jammy” and commented on its crushed red fruit.
The critics failed to spot that both wines were from the same bottle. The only difference was that one had been coloured red with a flavourless dye.