This is why the ambience of a restaurant matters.
In a 2001 experiment, Brochet invited 57 wine experts and asked them to give their impressions of what looked like two glasses of red and white wine. The wines were actually the same white wine, one of which had been tinted red with food coloring. But that didn’t stop the experts from describing the “red” wine in language typically used to describe red wines. One expert praised its “jamminess,” while another enjoyed its “crushed red fruit.” Not a single one noticed it was actually a white wine. Because the tongue is vague in its instructions, we are forced to constantly parse its input based upon whatever other knowledge we can summon to the surface. As Brochet himself notes, our expectations of what the wine will taste like “can be much more powerful in determining how you taste a wine than the actual physical qualities of the wine itself.”
A new study led by Adrian North of Heriot-Watt University adds to this indictment of the tongue, showing that our perception of wine is deeply influenced by the music playing in the background.