The story of Unicorn Club #3 - Creaming Soda from winemaker, Sam Smith
Without a doubt, the Creaming Soda wine was the R&D breakthrough of 2019. The conceptualisation for this wine started out as a first draft for the 'Spring' wine. With the concept being focused around creating a wine that tasted like a 'Creaming Soda'. I'm not entirely sure where the connection between Spring and Creaming Soda came from, and with it a subsequent sense of nostalgia, but I knew that I could create a unique, multisensory experience for you if the level of execution was great enough.
The R&D for the Spring wine starting with attempting to break down the aromatic constituents of Creaming Soda itself. To do this I rotary-evaporated a sample in order to determine Creaming Soda's molecular aromatic profile. We found high levels of the aromatic compound limonene, which is the most abundant aromatic molecule in oranges (95%), mandarins (75%) and lemons (70%). We also isolated a small percentageof b-pinene compounds which is also an active aroma compoud in lemons.
As expected there was also a relatively high concetration of vanillin compounds which contribute the 'Creaminess' in creaming soda. From the results of the rotary-evaporation I was able to conclude that the primary aromatic constituents of Creaming Soda were Lemon, Orange, and Vanilla.
The taste profile of Creaming Soda is a relatively straight forward blend of water, citric acid, and sugar.
The #1 Greco provided the Orange and Lemon aromatics as well as the acidity, whilst the #2 Gewurztraminer balanced the acidity of the Greco with more pronounced fruit sweetness as well as adding floral aromatics which complemented the addition of the vanilla distillate. It was then merely a matter of deciding on final blending ratio's of the two wines in order to more accurately represent the overall flavour composition of the Creaming Soda. 60% Greco and 40% Gewurztraminer to be the 'sweet spot'
In order to emulate the Creaming Soda vanilla component. 1kg of Vanilla pods was rotary-evaporated with distilled H20 in order to produce a distillate of H@) and vanillin, the aromatic compound for the smell of vanilla. I then worked on addition ratios of distilalte to blended wine and found that 1ml of distillate to 200ml of wine was ideal. This essentially means that the 'Creaming Soda' wine is 0.5% vanilla distillate.
The colour of the wine is the result of infusing 3kg of dehyrated and ground red currant's into the wine. The red currant also contributes a small amount of red berry flavour which, I think, positively contributes to the overall balance and flavour profile of the finished wine.
In many ways, the colour of Creaming Soda changes the way that we perceive it's flavour. When we consume foods and beverages that are red, our brain convinces us that we are tasting something that is sweeter than what it actually is. This allows flavour to be manipulated by colour and in this instance turns what is predominantly an acid driven wine into a sweeter wine. The Creaming Soda wine has no residual sugar at all, but because of the addition of vanillion aromatic molecules and the colour of the wine we perceive the wine as having some sweetness.
The Creaming Soda wine was such an exciting breakthrough because it was the first time that we have reverse engineered a food and drink on a molecular level and sough to emulate it's flavour profile by blending wines together. It's certainly a concept that will be continuously worked on and perfected over the course of the next few years as we seek to always push the boundaries of what is possible in the wine world.
Blending and processing -
300L blend of 60% Greco and 40% Gewurztraminer
Roto vap 1kg Madagaskar Vanilla pods + 3L distilled H20
3kg dehydrated ground Native Red currant
- White Blend