Simon Hoggart

May Wine Club | 17 May 2008

I’ve been reading an intriguing article by Miles Thomas in the Psychologist magazine. It’s called ‘On Vines and Minds’, and it discusses many of the ways in which our brains determine the experience of drinking wine.

I’ve been reading an intriguing article by Miles Thomas in the Psychologist magazine. It’s called ‘On Vines and Minds’, and it discusses many of the ways in which our brains determine the experience of drinking wine.

I’ve been reading an intriguing article by Miles Thomas in the Psychologist magazine. It’s called ‘On Vines and Minds’, and it discusses many of the ways in which our brains determine the experience of drinking wine. For instance, appearances are important — uncomfortably important. Even experts, offered a white wine tinted with a neutral red dye, will often describe it in the way they might talk about a real red wine. We know that if you tell people that a wine is worth, say, £50 a bottle, they will enjoy it more than the identical wine if they believe it cost £5. Research shows that if supermarkets want to push wines from a particular country, they should play the appropriate music. ‘O Sole Mio’ would move Italian wines; ‘Je T’Aime — Moi Non Plus’ would presumably send them racing off home with chilled Champagne. Most surprising of all was the finding that the average wine buyer spends 38 seconds choosing each bottle, and that the choice is mainly influenced by the label.

I see nothing wrong with that. Anticipation is an important part of drinking wine, and if you are serving to your friends, you want a bottle with a label that won’t be confused with WD-40. This offer is from the wonderful new company Private Cellar, which has already scored heavily with Spectator readers. La Monastière Blanc 2007 (1) is a lovely French country wine with an appealing, if not elaborate label. It is fruity and rounded, and balances its acidity with a hint of honey. Reduced to £6.49, it is perfect for summer quaffing.

I really loved the Verdicchio dei Castelli Jesi 2006, made at Monteschiavo (2).

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