One of the most original and inventive wine producers I’ve come across is Pieter Walser of Blankbottle in Stellenbosch, South Africa but this is his zaniest concept yet.
It’s a wine whose exact blend was determined by his brain patterns while he was tasting 21 different blending components, an experiment which followed a chance encounter with a neurologist on a plane*. (The blend was 49% chenin blanc, 17% clairette blanche, 13% viognier 13% pinot gris and 9% vermentino)
He then made another wine called Orbitofrontal Cortex following his normal procedure of choosing the from the same samples himself and came up with 34% grenache blanc, 17% fernao pires, 17% chenin blanc, 13% verdelho 11% clairette blanche and 8% semillon.
The two wines are fascinatingly different. The Limbic, which he refers to as a ‘neuro’ wine is very clean and precise – a taut, mineral white that would be great with seafood and salads. The Orbitofrontal Cortex is more Rhone-ish – much fuller and weightier and would be better suited to white meats such as roast chicken or veal. While delicious now I think it probably needs another year or so to show at its best.
Interestingly the Limbic took just a day to blend (you can see the process on YouTube) while the Orbitofrontal Cortex took a week.
If you want to compare them you can currently buy both from his importer, Swig for £22.50 each. But be quick – after last week’s brilliant Wines of South Africa tasting I’m guessing there won’t be much around.
*There’s a more detailed account of their encounter on the Blankbottle website. And if you want to know more about the role of the brain’s limbic system, something I must confess I was completely unaware of, you can find it here.