The satisfying sound a cork makes when being popped out of a bottle to oohs and aahs of onlookers has a psychological effect on the drinkers too, with scientists finding that the same wine was described as tasting nicer when drunk out of a corked bottle compared to a screw top.
This mental trick was discovered by researchers at the University of Oxford, who asked 140 volunteers to sit around drinking wine purchased using educational funds. On average, the wine was scored 2.98 out of 5 by people drinking it out of a screw top container, with the reviewers giving literally the exact same wine a score of 3.5 out of 5 when it had been dramatically unsealed from a corked bottle -- also describing the flavour as being more "intense" from the corked sample.
Ha ha. Stupid them. We shall see if it works with Diet Coke at our scheduled elevenses today. The university's Professor Spence said: "The sound and sight of a cork being popped sets our expectations before the wine has even touched our lips, and these expectations then anchor our subsequent tasting experience. These results emphasise the importance of closures for wine, and the clear association between cork and quality in our subconscious." [The Times]