Pieter H. Walser, the Founder of BlankBottle is someone I have been intrigued about ever since I heard about him making wine with his subconscious mind... Here is a guy who is really pushing the boundaries of how wine and winemaking should be considered.
Pieter was asked to describe BLANKbottle in one sentence:
"Clothes maketh not the man; judge my wines on what's in the bottle, not the varietal on the label".
In 2004, a lady went to his house (then also his office) to buy wine. She asked for anything but Shiraz. ‘I don’t drink Shiraz’ were her exact words. He poured her a glass of wine. She loved it and bought 3 cases. It was a straight Shiraz. It’s a fact – people do judge the book by its cover.
When Peter started BLANKbottle, His goal was to create an honest wine company that had no limitations when it came to style, vintage, or region in order to break down any preconceived expectations. Having no indication of grape varietal on the bottle makes this possible. Not only does it demand complete honesty when it comes to quality, but it allows him the opportunity to introduce one-off limited runs of interesting wines. This flexibility turned out to be BLANKbottle’s edge. In Pieter’s words "Something for someone with an open mind and an adventurous heart."
The Brain Wines
The Subconcious - The Limbic
Peter went on to create one of his latest wines in a revolutionary way. Instead of using his knowledge to taste and try to distinguish which of the 21 varietals he favored, he decided to hook himself up to multiple machines that would target a specific area in his brain, the limbic system.
A camera focused on his eyes for pupil dilation, a case on his finger to measure his blood oxygen levels and a heart monitor connected to his chest all contributed, this would allow his team to study the results and figure out with a mathematical algorithm which grapes he preferred...
The machine would record his brain waves and single out which wines spiked his interest. The process took a whole day for the 21 white blends to be tasted and again two weeks later for the red wine, something Pieter describes as work!
Blending began and Limbic 2015 was born!
The Conscious - Orbitofrontal Cortex
Orbitofrontal Cortex was blended using the same samples but this time Pieter went with his conscious mind and selected the samples he felt tasted the best to use in the final blend.
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.
Interested? We are lucky enough to have secured a very small allocation of the Brain wines. Which will you prefer conscious or sub-conscious wine making??
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