I was surprised to not meet ‘Jean’, but co-owner Lindsey, who explained that Jean is the name of the algorithm which her husband has created for the Ask-Jean App which will soon go live.
The Wine Tasting was held at Pulp on Point, a new restaurant in Mouille Point which I had not heard of before, with a beautiful location on Beach Road. I was introduced to four tourists, Dieter and Ingrid from Germany, Micky from Paris, and Horacio from Canada, who paid R150 each to attend and get a convivial introduction to some of our local wines. Lindsey ran the 90 minute tasting single-handedly, having recently had an op on her right hand, but she did have a colleague on hand to open the wine bottles.
Lindsey provided some background about ask-Jean and how the app-to-be was born, stemming from her husband’s interest in artificial intelligence, one’s evaluation of wines and answers to a questionnaire becoming predictive about one’s wine tastes, and future wine choices. The App will be rolled out to include other alcoholic beverages too, as well as cheeses. Jean is Lindsey’s sister-in-law’s name, and is similar to ‘Ask Jeeves’ from pre-Google days.
We had to find Ask-Jean.com in our browser, enter our personal details, and then choose one response option per question, many questions not wine related at all, for example our salt Level requirement in food, and our chocolate eating choice in terms of cocoa content. The app then offers two dominant colour associations for the person taking the test, mine being Yellow and Purple. As a Yellow person my wine preference was said to be bold, intense, and rounder wines, which I would agree with when it comes to red wines. I had a problem with the generalizations, as my red wine and white wine selections are vastly different in this regard. As a Purple person I prefer fruitier Wines, perhaps reflecting my white wine drinking choice. My dominant colours were typical of female users of the App Test.
I discovered that Ask-Jean offers:
# regular wine tastings
# a wine buying service, offering a monthly mixed box of wines per one’s colour definition
# a future colour coding of wines suitable for one’s colour in bottle stores
#. A record of as well as one’s evaluation of wines tasted. I’m not sure if this includes wines which are not in the Ask-Jean App.
We tasted six wines, each paired with a different food item, being invited to taste the wine first, take a bite of the food item, and then to taste the wine again, to evaluate the effect of the food on the taste of the wine. All wines were tasted blind, the bottles covered with newspaper.
- Lynx Blanc de Noir 2018
This Franschhoek origin wine is largely exported, we were told, and it was felt to be a good drinking wine but not exceptional. It was paired with dried fig. It retails at R70 per bottle.
In-between each tasting a card game was played. The first requested one’s Bucket List destination. Having just returned from a Bucket List trip, I thought I’d done them all, but I did share my next destinations planned for 2020.
2. Theuniskraal Semillon Chardonnay 2018
The wine had a sweeter taste than I would have liked. It stems from Tulbagh. It was a wine brand that took me back to my early days of wine tasting whilst I was a student at Stellenbosch University, it being a classy up-market brand. I had not come across it since then, a lovely reconnection. It retails at R120.
This wine tasting was paired with vanilla wafers,
3. Nitida Coronata Integration 2016
Yellow green in colour, the Semillon Sauvignon Blanc Blend 2016 was well rated by Tim Atkin, who gave it a 93 score. Its price is R186. It originates from Durbanville.
The tasting of the wine was paired with dried apricot.
4. Louisvale Dominique 2016
I had not heard of this wine before, the winery based in Stellenbosch. It is a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc Blend. It tasted very light weight to me. Cabernet Sauvignon is not my favorite, so I did not rate it positively. The wine retails at R139.
The wine tasting was paired with black oIives.
A lie/truth game was played at this point, one having to combine a lie and a truth into one sentence, and the others evaluating which is which.
5. O’Connells Merlot 2018
This wine was unknown to me too, originating from Paarl. It costs R69. It was more full-bodied than the Louisvale.
6. Malanot Triton Syrah 2018
This wine was also unknown to me, made by the Malan family in Stellenbosch. I was surprised that it was revealed as a Syrah, I initially rejecting it. It became very drinkable in finishing the tasting glass pour. It was the only wine that I finished. It costs R 165.
The wine was paired with mature cheddar cheese.
At this point it was Group photograph time, and Lindsey and I suggested a Rugby World Cup shot, in front of the restaurant TV, using an ice bucket as a ‘rugby ball’.
We had a ball in the tasting, new friendships were formed, and I learnt about new wines.
Ask-Jean.com, www.ask-Jean.com Instagram: @askjean_taste
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein