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Dimple Dipping

I was drinking the Domaine Serene Coeur Blanc (see page 7) recently and was astonished by the depth of the punt or dimple, the deep indentation in a bottle’s butt. This brought back memories of a British study that showed it is possible to determine the value of a bottle of wine by feeling the depth of its dimple. Previously this was thought to be an urban myth, but some researchers with nothing better to do actually measured bottles of wine of different prices. It was shown that more expensive wines had deeper dimples. The relationship between depth and price could be expressed by the equation: price of bottle - dimple depth in millimeters + $5.64/4.314. The home-made depth gauge, which was used by researchers to make the measurements, was auctioned off on eBay.

I went into my own cellar to feel a few dimples. I used my two fingers (index and middle) as a depth gauge - grading the depth of the dimple as none, first knuckle, and second knuckle. Some dimples have a nipple at the depth of the depression which can affect the measurement. I sampled several bottles and I found that the scientific results reported by Dr. Karl Blanks are valid. Some of my cheapo Pinot Noirs (for unwanted guests, relatives, and cooking), had no dimple at all. Most wines had a one knuckle dimple. This seems to be the common dimple size. One of the deepest dimples I found (over two knuckles) was the Domaine Serene Coeur Blanc ($60) and the Sine Qua Non Holler M Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir ($200 on secondary market).

Now when you are at a party you can amaze the crowd by feeling the dimple and picking out the most expensive wines. When you are at your local wine merchant, you can wager a bottle of good Pinot on whether you can tell the more expensive bottle by holding the bottle (and subtlety putting your two fingers into the dimple). Just don’t overdo it, people might think you are some kind of weirdo.

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