High-Tech Help with Pairing

Those of you who have difficulty selecting the perfect wine to give Aunt Franny or the best match for your new favorite dinner recipe might find some help in a new web-based analysis tool developed by a company called QlikTech. The tool is called the Wine Press Wine Selector, and can be found here.

According to QlikTech’s press release:

The Wine Press offers in-depth analysis of over 3,000 wines ranging from 1964-2002, and provides consumers a way to find the right holiday gift or find the perfectly aged Chardonnay, with a hint of oak and fruit, for that special lobster dinner. Individuals can search for the ideal bottle by rating, price, value, color, variety, vintage, region, flavor, accompanying food item or similarity. The application showcases the simplicity and ease-of-use of QlikView, QlikTech’s innovative business analysis tool.

I spent a good amount of time playing around with the selector, which was interesting, but I’m not sure I’ll rush to get its recommendation next time I find myself in a pairing quandary.

I threw it a challenge, asking it to choose a wine to pair with artichoke, a notorious toughie for sommeliers. The suggestion? Trevor Jones Boots Grenache, Barossa Valley: 2001 After a moment or two, however, I noticed that there is also a choice to seek a pairing for “artichokes.” When looking for a match for more than one artichoke, you’ll find more plentiful results, and these seem to fall more in line with what most pairing experts suggest. A couple that were offered: E. & M. Berger, Kremstal: 2001; Weingut Knoll Federspiel, Wachau: 2002; Weingut Walter Glatzer Kabinett, Carnuntum: 2001

The selector also lets you choose wines by other criteria including quality, rating and price. You could select “white,” then choose “Excellent” and “$$” and find that you should purchase Antonio Esteves Ferreira Soalheiro Alvarinho, Vinho Verde: 2002; or you might select “red,” “good” and “$” to find that you’ll like a variety of bottles including Tenimenti Angelini San Leonino Classico: 2000 or Rabbit Ridge, Sonoma County: 2000.

The bottom line in my opinion is that this is a fun tool to play with, and might offer a starting point for the beginning wine enthusiast. But in the long run, I don’t believe that any ratings system or technology will offer a clear view to what kind of wine you might like. Perhaps the most useful part of the tool is the ability to select a wine that you know you like and ask the selector to suggest “similar” wines based on the analysis. That, however, brings up concerns about how the database was selected, how many wines are included (3000) or excluded (many, many, oh so many), and how widely available the suggested wines might be in your area. The pairing tool is a great basic place to begin, but can’t take into account sauces or other preparations, which can make a huge difference in your pairing choices. (For more on this see Wine and Food Pairing with Michael Weiss).

Nonetheless, I think anything that gets people excited about drinking and learning about wine is a good thing. Head over and give it a whirl — I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Reader Comments

very interesting…thanks -AC