Thursday, August 10, 2006


At last, be your own critic and be right every time. Forget the point systems. Wine lovers everywhere will be able to do on the spot computerized tastings and find the wines they like without actually consuming them. Sounds like some fictional, futuristic dreaming? Its closer than you think. I am in possesion of a personal prototype. The picture you see of the handheld computerized tasting tongue has only been altered slightly to protect the .....well the wild imagination of some dreamers like myself.

Have we not all wondered how come we can't detect that hint of bacon wrapped baked pear on the nose? Or tasted that kiwi tinged streak of lime marinated mango? Please, will someone tell me how you do that?

"Human sensory tests are regularly employed in the food and beverages industries, but results are based on subjective judgements and variations between panels can be up to 50 per cent in terms of flavour units. Therefore, the development of 'objective' tools to detect taste is very much needed," said the researchers in a joint UK-Us venture. Wow, 50% folks, that is enough to make you wonder whether what you read or hear about a wine is really what you'll experience when you attempt to taste the wine yourself. This scientific approach is based on surface acoustic wave (SAW) sensors.Imagine dipping your little probe into a glass of wine with a predetermined taste profile set to your own preferences.
Meanwhile another group of scientists have figure out how we perceive all that crisp sour ( acid in wine of course)
Japanese researchers not to be outdone, have produced a robot that will tell you what grapes are in your wine. Aha!! I thought I could detect Viognier in that Shiraz.
Now if the ladies and gentlemen of the scientific community could all get together, pool their knowledge and come up with my futuristic handheld computerized tongue, I can go to the next big tasting of 100+ wines, set my parameters and I'll be able to pick my winners in no time at all. Then of course I can get to some serious tasting. One day soon I will wake up from my dream and read in my favourite wine column ( my own perhaps), that the future is here. The fully loaded models will of course allow you to listen to your music, take pictures and will have a cell phone component. But wait....not to open another can of worms, but the Aussies think they have the answer and have come up with another sniffer. So now you will have a choice, your PPPP (Personally Programmed Proboscis Probe) or your PPPW (Personal Pack of Pet Worms)
In the meantime lest we forget, the best wine is still the wine that you like.

1 comment:

Cathryn Ravenscliff said...

Okay Okay, I concede the merits of technology, but..... jeezzzz ..... what next? "Hey Wilf, why don't you drop by later, I'll rip a picture of a grand Bordeaux outa Wine Spectator, you bring the photo of the Reidel decanter, and we'll pin 'em on the bulletin board, stare at them, and pretend we're enjoying a glass?"