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In the pilot of Marco Polo, Marco is asked in front of the Khan's court which land he thinks has the most beautiful women.

He answers:

In Italy we have a saying: „The true sweetness of wine is one flavor.“

What is the meaning of the idiom in general and in the context of the scene?

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The question he was asked was a trap, any simple answer he gave would get him in trouble.

If he answered anywhere but Mongolia then he would offend his hosts. But answering Mongolia would be seen as spineless flattery.

Instead he deflected the question and answered by saying "The true sweetness of wine is one flavor". This means that while there may be many different flavors of wine in the world, they all taste good and all get you intoxicated.

In other words he finds women everywhere desirable.

It was an answer cleverly avoiding the trap in the question and by doing so continuing to keep the Khan's interest.

To expand some more - the phrase is ambiguous and fairly meaningless in of itself. It sounds all mystic and wise but actually has no real meaning. This in itself is deliberate. It allows people to read whatever meaning they want into it. As soon as someone in the court laughs then everyone else has to laugh along or look like they didn't understand the joke.

If it does exist as an Italian saying (and I've seen no evidence to say that it does) then with reference to that culture it may be possible to assign more concrete meaning to it.

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  • Solid answer, but I still don't get how the idiom translates to the meaning „all wines/women taste good in their own way“. Probably because I'm not a native speaker. Any chance you could elaborate on that part? – magnattic Dec 29 '14 at 19:50
  • What does he mean with ''one flavour'' then? What is the ''one flavour''? – Jef Jan 2 '15 at 17:48
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    @Jef From reddit: "You're misunderstanding the one flavor in this context, which is exactly the trick the statement is meant to pull. The 'one flavor' isn't the taste of each wine, it's the flavor that all wine shares (intoxication). Just as, to his point, with women. What he enjoys about women isn't how they each look based on where they come from but rather the universal intoxication that all women can put him under." reddit.com/r/MarcoPolo/comments/2pfd2c/… – sss4r Jun 28 '15 at 15:02
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The way I interpret it, is that while there are a lot of different flavours of wine, ultimately what we all enjoy from wine is the alcohol, which is the "one flavour" he's referring to.

The same can be said for women. While there are women from different ethnic backgrounds around the world, what we men enjoy ultimately, is the woman herself, no matter where from. The "flavor" part can be left to interpretation, whether he was just referring to women in general or the taste of their parts.

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Love and perfection can be found in all women, basically being with an amazing woman is the same for every man regardless of were he/she is from. True love is a point reached in a relationship, and that point is always the same "flavour" no matter which as the last and the next.

This answers the question where are the prettiest girls, with the answer "each land has different qualities, but woman are amazing because they're woman, not based on where they are from.

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  • How does this answer the question? – Meat Trademark Jan 23 '16 at 17:17

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