(2) Finding my perfect wine match
We don't need to be masters of wine to find every time wines that fit our personal taste.
It all comes down to being able to figure out exactly what characteristics I really like in wine. Once that is done, I'll be able to find many other wines that share the same attributes without being at the mercy of what branding and adverts try putting in my brain.
Sounds easier said than done? Here's how we intend to solve this same old problem - Simple, with My Wine ID!
In our previous post we went through the factors that make a wine what it is, i.e. tell me what to expect from it even before I even open the bottle. The grape chosen, the place where they are grown and the winemaking techniques used determine a wine's: (A) taste in the mouth, (B) aroma in the nose, and (C) looks at the eye.
At Pulp we record the combination of these three elements - taste, aromas and looks - in the Wine ID, our proprietary system that scores each wine along a list of 20+ attributes that describe with precision its characteristics.
Put it this way it may seem a little bit obscure, so let's have a look at each of the three elements and its attributes.
(a) The Taste
First and foremost the taste, as this is what really drives whether I'll like a wine or not.
To describe a wine, we start from its Six Components. By nature, each component has a very specific taste to it and it's the sum of these that makes up a wine's overall taste. Let's go one by one:
Or lack thereof, as most wines are completely dry. In some wines though, sugar is present as residual – i.e. left over from the winemaking process - making the wine sweet.
These impart the wine a savoury or even salty taste. Wines like Muscadet or Chablis are good examples in which to find plenty of minerals.
Generally high in most white wines, a wine's acidity will make the wine feel refreshing. High acidity is recognizable from the fact that it makes us salivate while drinking.
These are that bitter thing that make our gums dry immediately and get our tongue to stick to our palate. Tannins can be found almost exclusively in red wines.
This is a gluey component that makes the wine glide down the glass. It's the root cause for a wine's thickness and for its softness. It also taste sweet, so even when wine has no sugar whatsoever, if it's rich in glycerol, it can taste sweet.
Not much to explain here. It gives a sensation of hotness in our mouth and a burn down our throat.
Beyond the Six Components, there are also other characteristics we keep track of, including among others: the body level, the taste intensity and persistence, and so on.
(B) The Aroma
Aromas are always a slippery slope because everybody's brain is wired in a slightly differently way and often when I perceive a specific aroma, the next person may smell something quite different. That said, the goal with scoring the aroma attributes isn't to prescribe what one should smell, but rather to be able to compare between one wine and another.
To make a real life example, when having Sauvignon Blanc, I may find a grassy aroma, while others may smell gooseberry or even cat pee (!). The scientific root for such an aroma is that the Sauvignon Blanc grape naturally produces an aroma compound called pyrazines that can remind us of all those aromas. So what we do at Pulp is scoring wines systematically with the goal to see whether I consistently like that aroma or not; if I've liked that Sauvignon Blanc, whether I smelled grass, gooseberry or cat pee, we know I like a specific aromatic compound.
Beyond the aroma compounds we also keep track of the aroma intensity among other characteristics.
(C) the Looks
Finally we keep track of a wine's looks, i.e. its colour, limpidity, whether the wine is bubbly or not, and so on. It may seem like a superficial matter, but wine science found out that our brains do get tricked by the looks, which often prime us to expect certain features in a wine that in realitymay or may not be there.
Building My Wine ID
Now that we've clarified what a Wine ID is, how do I go about building My Wine ID? Well, that's the easiest and most fun part!
I'll just have to go ahead, drink wines and rate them. With every rating I'll be implicitly scoring each of the 20 different attributes described before.
Every rating is a building block to My Wine ID, which is the description of that perfect wine that really fits my unique taste. This is what we are developing here at Pulp!
What Will I Be Able to do with My Wine ID?
The great thing is that even though there're thousands and thousands of wines, when comparing their Wine IDs we figured out they fall into much fewer buckets, which means that several wines made from different grapes and in completely different places may end up sharing the same Wine ID.
With My Wine ID finding every time wines that I like will be as simple as searching for a culprit having his precise identikit picture.
So today for instance I may say that I like Burgundy's Pinot Noirs - which like any established brands come at a premium price. Soon, with My Wine ID I'll know instead what characteristics appeal to me, and I'll be able to find many other wines that share the same attributes without being at the mercy of what branding and adverts try putting in my brain. Cheers to that!
Want to know more about My Wine ID by Pulp?
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