Your Own Digital Sommelier In the Comfort Of Your Home
By Kristel Maurian
As published in the Weekend Section of Het Laatste Nieuws (largest newspaper in Belgium) - June 6 2023
Wine too cold or too warm wine? It can completely spoil the taste experience of an excellent bottle. Our in-house sommelier Sepideh Sedaghatnia explains why the serving temperature is so important, and we are trying a personal, digital sommelier.
The right serving temperature is very important to do the wine justice, Sepideh said. "Most Flemish people drink their red wine too hot and their white too cold," she observes. "A red wine that is too warm gets out of balance. As a result, the alcohol becomes more dominant and you will start to taste the alcohol. And that's a shame, right?"
«For red wine, 16°C is usually ideal. For our parents or grandparents, it was enough to take the red wine out of the cellar and let it come to room temperature for a few hours. Nowadays it is too hot in our homes to chambrate wine in this way. The average temperature in living areas is 20 to 21 °C. And in summer, temperatures in the house can reach 25°C and more. To chambrate the wine in it would almost evaporate it.” "White wine, on the other hand, requires a cooler temperature,"
she continues. «In the past, they often came perfectly ready to serve from a cellar of 10°C. The refrigerator can be a good alternative, provided that the refrigerator temperature also balances around 10°C. With rich, white wines, chilling it too long is a no-go: a few degrees too cold prevents the aromas from being released. The exception to this are sparkling wines: they can be served perfectly at 6°C." Classic tricks to remedy is to keep your wine a climate cabinet or wine cooler, although it remains a challenge to keep the temperature of the wine constant during your dinner yourself.
"Both body and ambient heat can quickly raise the temperature by several degrees. The easiest way to keep a bottle of white wine cool while dining is a bucket of ice, water and salt. You can put red wine in the refrigerator before uncorking, so it will quickly reach the right serving temperature afterwards," Sepideh explained. "You better not take extreme measures, such as putting wine in the freezer to chill or putting wine in the microwave to serve it a few degrees warmer. With such methods, you cause a shock, causing the wine to lose a lot of quality."
Help can come from the QelviQ. A digital sommelier with the ambition to quickly bring and keep your wine at the right temperature. In addition, it wants to help you choose the right bottle to go with each dish and manage your wine recommendations. It also answers all your wine questions 24/7 via the app, so you no longer have to build a library of wine books. Digital wine platforms and apps like wine-searcher.com and vivino.com have long made it easy to gather information about a bottle of wine, but this QelviQ focuses so much on the perfect serving temperature as well. In the our test, we dish up the same bottles to our house sommelier as well as to the digital sommelier.
This is what the winecooler does :
• Brings wine to the perfect temperature (red, white, bubbles and rose)
• Keeps wine at the right temperature overnight and unplugged for over 1.5 hours thanks to 3 sensors that measure the temperature of the environment, bottle and contents
This is what the app does :
• Tips for a perfect menu (appetizer, main course and dessert) or you can match your chosen wine with a dish of your liking
• Provides all sorts of information on your selected wine (with over 350K wines in the database) and you can also ask wine related questions
• Helps manage your wine inventory)
This is how it works :
• Download the free QelviQ app and connect to the smart wine bucket via bluetooth
• Take a picture of the wine label. Based on this, the app provides information about the selected wine and the ideal serving temperature.
• Brings the wine to the temperature with the push of a button. Which cools from 2.5 degrees celcius in 10 minutes to 6 degrees celcius in 20 minutes. The temperature control works between 7 degrees celcius and 19 degrees celcius.
• The device emits a ‘beep’ and lights up with the correct temperature is reached. If you want you can unplug and wirelessly place the QelviQ as an ‘ice bucket’ on or next to the dining table. The wine remains at perfect temperatures for an hour and a half.
QelviQ (vs. Sepideh)
WHITE: Val Do Sosego Rias Baixas (12.5%)
Grape: Albarino - Country: Spain - Vintage: 2022 - Serve at: 10,0°C
This is what QelviQ says:
"Albarino" is a white grape variety grown primarily in the Rias Baixas region of Galicia, but also in other regions of Spain, as well as in Portugal and the United States. Albarino wines are known for their bright, crisp acidity and refreshing flavours. The aromas can include notes of peach, apricot and citrus, as well as a subtle mineral character. Albarino is usually fermented in stainless steel tanks to give its fresh, fruity flavors and retain crisp acidity."
Food pairing: "Perfect with lighter meals such as cheese, tapas, shrimp shellfish. The acidity degree of the wine goes well with lemon-based dishes and fatty proteins such as salmon.”
The temperature test: "Measuring the current temperature of the bottle took about two minutes. The bottle (one hour out of the refrigerator) was found to have a tem¬perature of 10.3°C. The wine cooler took three minutes to reach the recommended serving temperature to reach 10°C."
Sepideh says this:
"From behind a light, lemon yellow color, a very nice nose emerges with a Mediterranean touch. Aroma's of green herbs, dried flowers (such as chamomile lime) and white stone fruit stand out, along with mango, apricot, melon, apple and citrus fruits. On the palate mainly freshness, combined with green herbs, fennel and lime. A slight bitterness in the aftertaste is reminiscent of the aftertaste of green olives. This a very pleasant wine! Ideal with lighter dishes such as salads, pasta, shellfish and seafood."
RED Santa Julia Malbec (14%)
Grape: Malbec - Country: Argentina - Vintage: 2021 - Serve at: 18°C
This is what QelviQ says:
"Malbec has notes of blackberries and plums and spicy rich flavors. A native grape from France but now gives its best examples at the high altitudes of Argentina. Malbec is often paired with steak because of its rich flavor and soft tannins that help make the perfect match."
Foodpairing: "For a fuller-bodied wine, a Malbec is an excellent match for strong flavors. Malbec goes well with many kinds¬ of meat (beef, lamb, pork, venison, game) or fattier fish with a more powerful sauce. It also goes well with poultry, especially with a rich sauce. Side dishes such as asparagus or potatoes work well, as do hard cheeses and chocolate cakes."
The temperature test: "Measuring the current temperature of the bottle took about two minutes. The bottle had a temperature of 19.8°C. The wine cooler took 10 minutes to reach the serving temperature of 18°C."
Sepideh says this:
"The statement 'High Altitude Vineyard' on the label indicates that this is a wine from a higher altitude area. In wine¬ terms, this means higher than 900 meters. This is especially important for maintaining finesse in wines from warmer regions. The nose seems modest, but then releases intense aro¬mas of violets, roses, a mix of black fruit and spice. It smells very young, even somewhat macho. The continuation on the palate is also firm, with good¬ acidity and firm tannins. This wine goes perfectly with meat with another layer of fat around it, for example entrecote, lamb crowns, meat ragout."
"Useful if you don't have a wine cellar or refrigerator"
"The QelviQ is very easy to use. Just take a picture of the label or selecting a wine from your stock that is already stored in the app, and in no time you will find out the optimal wine temperature and facts about your wine. Then, with the push of a button, you can put the smart wine bucket to work bringing the wine to the optimal temperature. It is a handy device for serving wine properly, especially for those who do not have a wine cellar or refrigerator, However, only one bottle fits in the wine bucket, so it is suitable for those dining in limited company. Conveniently, there's no water or ice involved, so you don't have a dripping bottle that could ruinthe table decoration. It is also pleasant that the wine remains at the same temperature for a long time."
The accompanying app provides a lot of information: in addition to the food pairing advice, you can further discover what tastes best with the chosen wine per type of dish and/or ingredients (fish, meat or vegetarian). And if you have a question, you can simply ask it in the app. The information about the wine is correct, but mainly based on information of the grape and less specific about the selected bottle. However, this is not a cheap device: it is a gadget for wine lovers who are obsessed with the perfect drinking temperature and want to know a lot."