The Provençal rosé paradox: why wine you enjoy on holiday doesn’t taste the same in Britain
The Provençal rosé paradox: Scientists reveal why wine you enjoy on holiday in France doesn’t taste the same in the UK
- Rosé from Provence has become synonymous with the region
- Many vacationers bring bottles home – but it never tastes quite the same
- An expert from the University of Oxford has explained this so-called Provençal rosé paradox
With its pale pink color and delicious aromas of summer berries, Provence rosé has become synonymous with the region.
In fact, if you’ve been to the south of France you might have liked the wine so much that you decided to buy a few bottles to take home and enjoy with friends.
But while the wine tastes incredible in the French summer sun, it never tastes quite the same on a cold UK winter night.
Now Oxford University professor Charles Spence has explained what he calls the Provençal rosé paradox.
‘The same wine can taste so different depending on the situation we’re in,’ said Professor Spence.
With its pale pink color and delicious aromas of summer berries, Provence rosé has become synonymous with the region
Professor Spence worked with wine retailer Berkmann Wine Cellars to understand why the same food and wine can taste so different in different scenarios.
The team surveyed 2,000 respondents and found that 62 percent appreciated the taste of food and drink more when dining out with friends than at home.
However, 58 percent said having dinner with someone they don’t like can ruin the taste of a meal for them.
Professor Spence said: “There is an intrinsic connection between social and emotional cues and the experience of eating food and drinking wine.
“This plays into the idea of the ‘social facilitation effect,’ a well-known gastrophysical theory that we tend to enjoy food and drink more in the presence of people we like.”
It’s not just the people we’re with that can affect taste – Professor Spence says location matters, too.
“The taste and enjoyment of a particular wine can change depending on the context and environment,” he said.
“Many of us know the experience of enjoying rosé wines in southern France.
“It can taste so wonderful that we end up buying a few bottles to take home and share with friends on a cold winter evening.
“It’s just very often a disappointment – the wine tastes different, somehow less enjoyable.
While the wine tastes incredible in the French summer sun, it never tastes quite the same on a cold UK winter night (stock image)
“That’s the paradox – how different the same wine can taste depending on what situation we’re in.”
We’re usually happy and relaxed on vacation, which Professor Spence says can increase our appreciation for flavors.
“The social situations we find ourselves in can really affect the way we experience taste—enjoyment derived from a preferred social interaction will automatically elevate our mood, which means our ability to taste estimate, will be significantly increased,” he added.
The study comes shortly after researchers claimed that when it comes to white wine, you should avoid varieties that come in clear bottles.
Researchers from the University of Trento found that wines stored in clear containers – known as “flint glass” – can react with light to develop unpleasant flavors, including “cooked cabbage” and “wet dog”.
“Light can dramatically damage the aroma profile and sensory identity of white wine varietals in less than a week’s shelf life in white glass bottles,” the researchers write in their study published in PNAS.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO TASTE WINE RIGHT?
When it comes to drinking wine, there are a few things that can make all the difference.
Australian wine connoisseur Caitlyn Rees shows how to taste wine like an expert
Step 1: See
Before you take even that first sip, you must first take a look at the wine in your glass.
“See” refers to the appearance of the wine. Here you can check the clarity, intensity and color.
“If the wine is cloudy, it could be faulty, but tends to be unfiltered.”
Step 2: Swirl
You’ve probably seen wine drinkers swirl the wine in their glass before taking a sip.
The reason for this is to allow the wine to “open up” and reveal the maximum amount of aroma, flavor and intensity.
“Swirling releases the aroma particles that make the next step, smell, more helpful.”
Step 3: Smell
Smelling wine serves two purposes. It helps you identify smells and flavors and provides a way to check for bugs.
Step 4: Sip and enjoy
Once you’ve taken in the full aroma of the wine, it’s time to sip.
Step 5: Spit or swallow
If the wine you’re tasting hasn’t gone bad, the last step in the wine-tasting process is gulping.
The trick, however, is not to swallow it.
Rather, it’s about letting it slide down the back of your tongue so your taste buds can perceive the intensity of the flavor.