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.