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If you're daft enough to pay $45,000 on drink...

PUBLISHED: 02:28 17 July 2012

My rule of thumb is that any alcoholic beverage that comes attached to a 30-minute lecture about aromas and audacity and top notes isn't one I want to drink.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not going to look a Champagne-shaped gift horse in the mouth, not when the Champagne could be in my own mouth starting its anaesthetic journey to my nervous system.

That said, I wouldn’t be able to differentiate between an OK wine, a good wine, a brilliant wine and a mind-blowingly expensive wine that cost more than my house.

I know this because I once did a blind taste test between bottles of wine that cost from £4.99 to £600 and I effortlessly chose my favourite, which was the cheapest – how everyone laughed. At me, mainly, but at least it was good-natured. I think.

Auction house Christies has announced that its new series of online-only sales will begin with a fine wine auction involving 301 lots, such as 12 bottles of Cheval Blanc 2000 for the knock-down price of $10,000 and a case of Lafite 1982 for $45,000.

I think it’s fair to say that if you are stupid enough to pay $45,000 for 12 bottles of wine, you are definitely not responsible enough to drink. You probably need safety scissors and to be observed while you have a bath, too. In a survey of hundreds of drinkers, researchers found that on average people could tell good wine from cheap wine no more often than if they had simply guessed.

The study found that people correctly distinguished between cheap and expensive white wines only 53pc of the time and only 47pc of the time for red wines.

The overall result suggested a 50:50 chance of identifying a wine as expensive or cheap based on taste alone. The same odds as flipping a coin. “People just could not tell the difference,” said Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at Hertfordshire University, “when you know the answer, you fool yourself into thinking you would be able to tell the difference, but most people simply can’t.”

Conversely, in a study carried out in my front room, I discovered that 100pc of people that aren’t turned on by boredom would avoid a wine buff at a party, and not just because it was them that brought the bottle of Blue Nun.

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