the provençal rosé paradox
I'm a big fan of the work of Charles Spence, the psychology professor who heads up the Crossmodal Research Laboratory at Oxford. He has fascinating insights into the ways in which our senses sway our opinions.
I'm typing this on a rainy day and thinking about Spence's TED Talk on "Searching for the Perfect Meal." Guy Raz interviewed Spence for the TED Radio Hour, and they discussed what Spence calls the "Provence Rosé Paradox":
RAZ: You think about, like - how many times have you met a friend who's just come back from a holiday and they, say, oh, you've got to try this amazing red wine that I tried in Greece. And then you try it and you were sort of thinking...
SPENCE: So that phenomenon has a name. I think we've all got our own versions of it.
SPENCE: We call it the Provençal Rosé Paradox. It's used to describe Northern Europeans, particularly, who go for their holidays to the Mediterranean. And they're sitting somewhere on the side of the sea sipping that rose wine probably looking into their lover's eyes. The sun's out. You can hear the sounds of the sea, the smells of the salty air. It's all there. And that tastes like the best glass of wine you've ever had...
SPENCE: ...So great that you want to buy a bottle or a case and bring it back to share with your friends, show what good taste you have and you bring it back. And then you're disappointed.
RAZ: And your friends are like this is really cheap rose.
SPENCE: Yeah. And you say what happened? Is it something about when the bottles were in the airplane getting a cold and that, you know, spoiled the wine? It's not about that at all. We never eat nor drink nowhere. We're always somewhere in a certain environment, in a certain state of mind.
So please, do drink rosé on a cold, wet, February night. But don't hold it up to toooo high of a standard.