For those of you uninitiated in general geekdom, the uncanny valley is (wikipedia): when human replicas look and act almost, but not perfectly, like actual human beings, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers. The "valley" refers to the dip in a graph of the comfort level of humans as a function of a robot's human likeness.
In other words, it's so close, but you know something's not right. You may even be able to analyze the robot or humanoid (or rinoplasty patient), and decide that everything individually looks right, but there's something off. For more on this ability, check out Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, pretty great read.
As humans, we are trained our entire lives to notice this weird quirk in other humanoids, because we spend our entire lives looking at millions of other specimens making silent, involuntary notes about behaviors, expressions, movements, etc.
I propose that there is now an uncanny valley of wine. This is a theory that I've vetted amongst a handful of wine theoreticians (is there such a thing?). The consensus seems to be that, after you really refine your palate, you begin to notice, not necessarily flaws, but seams in wine. Having never made or aspired to make wine, I can't tell you what the tricks may be to cover shortcomings of wine. I know you can add a ton of ingredients to wine to fix color, acid, etc. I've seen wines I know have been watered back that have this weird quality. Sometimes, and seemingly more often as of late, I'll taste a wine, and it almost creeps me out. It's not flawed, nor does it possess anything out of whack, it just doesn't seem right. The closer it gets to being like actual wine (made from generally natural processes), the stranger it feels.
It would seem that this is not readily identifiable to the vast majority of the population. I would also suggest that I see this most often with larger producers from the U.S..This sensitivity, at least in my world, probably stems from 2 things-a) I have tended to gravitate towards Old world wines produced somewhat naturally as well as the domestic wines in the similar style b) my seeming addiction from ages 8-14 to Ferrara Pan Candy, which calibrated my palate to artificial flavors, and am now hyper sensitive to.
So, now we live in an age where even bad wine is still pretty drinkable for most, but for me, that is an uncanny valley red flag. Better drinking through chemistry? Maybe. It's not for me to say whether this is a good thing or not, but I definitely get the heebie-jeebies from these concoctions.
Wine of the Day, No. 236
1 hour ago