March 2, 2005 2:33 PM   Subscribe

How deep is your love? Experts may claim that size is meaningless; science now proves that friendship can be measured in millimeters
posted by IndigoJones (17 comments total)
(Sorry, you will need to scroll to question three in link two- internet illiterate me.)
posted by IndigoJones at 2:42 PM on March 2, 2005

"Experts" prove the depth is meaningless, yet science proves a corelation between depth and price, rendering our experts opinion somewhat less expert.
posted by Keith Talent at 2:44 PM on March 2, 2005

I always thought that was there to help with pouring.
posted by docpops at 2:46 PM on March 2, 2005

Interesting, but Itchy Squirrel apparently only looked at bottles in the GBP 2.50 to GBP 10 range. I reckon dimple depth goes asymptotic from GBP 10 on up.
posted by nyterrant at 2:56 PM on March 2, 2005

I wouldn't put my trust in this data yet. Sure, it looks like there's a correlation. But on a sample size of 50 bottles? How many of them are from the same makers? How are they geographically represented?

Despite his assurances, without access to the data, without knowing what he considers is a "proper statistical analysis", I don't think you can confidently say that there's a 99.999% certainty of correlation. I'd say if you really want to prove this, you'd have a lot more work to do and data to collect.
posted by splice at 2:57 PM on March 2, 2005

He also seems to be assuming price = quality.
posted by TwelveTwo at 3:14 PM on March 2, 2005

I'd do some research here in the States, but making an accurate depth gauge looks like a real PITA.
posted by alumshubby at 3:15 PM on March 2, 2005

Packaging can be deceptive, and even price is not a good indication of wine quality. Some inexpensive wines are very good, and some expensive, good wines have screw caps.

If you want to learn about wine, have a dinner party where guests bring wines in paper bags. Don't even look at the capsule. Use large, clear wine glasses with no detergent perfume. Look at the wine first, (color, legs) then smell, then taste. Try to guess the price, variety, year, and country of origin. You will learn very quickly, and your taste will improve dramatically.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 3:30 PM on March 2, 2005

Eyeballing his graph, the R^2 doesn't look great but it looks like there's a significant correlation at a 90, if not a 95%, confidence interval.

If I loved wine as much as I love the devil drink or if I had motivation or ambition, I'd hit up the BCLS and see if this is true across countries of origin.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 4:02 PM on March 2, 2005

what the hell is a skip?
posted by nomad at 4:04 PM on March 2, 2005

The dimple thing is usually a good measure of the quality of a bottle of wine. Awful wine always comes in flat bottomed bottles. I'm assuming though that the wine makers are aware of this fact, so I don't expect to be able to use this measure in the future.

On an off-topic note, the screw tops on wine are called stelvins and they have absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the wine.
posted by seanyboy at 4:50 PM on March 2, 2005

I believe that you call a skip a dumpster.

posted by seanyboy at 4:59 PM on March 2, 2005

A good cork lets the wine 'breathe', which is an important part of aging in the bottle. Only red wines, however, age. Whites and 'pinks' just go bad if you keep them too long. They're fine with bottlecaps or screw tops.

The misinformed public, however, believes that corks are the measure of a good wine, and so many winemakers use corks when they shouldn't... contributing to the tremendous cork shortage. .

What a lot of manufacturers do now is put 'fake' corks in... plastic stoppers that look like corks before you buy the wine. Yes, this is a bit deceptive, but in a good way... it means more real cork is available for the reds. It makes all wines cheaper, without impacting quality at all.

It's not *always* bad to lie. :-)
posted by Malor at 5:12 PM on March 2, 2005

What a punter.
posted by caddis at 5:53 PM on March 2, 2005

The cork shortage has been overstated, mostly by manufacturers of cork alternatives. Cork trees regenerate their outer bark every year, and this bark is what is used to make wine corks. Also, the acorns from the trees in the Algarve in southern Portugal (where the best cork is from) are fodder for pigs, and the meat from those pigs is also sold at a premium, so the cork trees are very profitable and in no danger of being cut down.

However, the cheaper the closure the lower your production costs. The price of real corks, especially high quality extra-well-sanitized corks, adds up quickly. If you try to use a lower quality, cheaper cork, there is a higher risk of "cork taint" where a contaminant (2,4,6-trichloroanisole, usually just called TCA) reacts with and spoils the wine. TCA has sources other than cork too, but I'm already veering off the subject here. Several different alternate wine closures have been developed to try to minimize costs and avoid cork taint at the same time. All of them are fine for your average plonk, or anything that's intended to be drunk within a year or two. There are problems with longer term storage though. Composite corks are made from bits and leavings of cork stuck together with glue and severely sanitized. This solves the taint problem and still allows the wine to breathe, but unfortunately after a few years the glue starts to affect the wine. Plastic corks were the next innovation, they eliminated both taint and the glue problem but don't allow the wine to breathe and age properly. It's also recently been discovered that the plastic outgassing will start to affect the wine after 5 or 6 years. Now we're onto to screwcaps, which solve every problem except the breathing, and they're working on a semi-permeable seal for that. So I'd say if you're buying a $10 bottle to drink tonight don't worry about what is in the neck, but if you're buying a special bottle to lay down in the cellar go for the cork.

And back to the subject... as several people have said, the only way to gauge quality is to taste the wine. If you just want to gauge price though, deep punts are one indicator. Also look for big shoulders (where the neck of the bottle meets the body, of course!) odd sizes like an extra-tall or extra-wide bottle, a thick collar up at the top of the neck, and weight (indicating double thick glass). All of those are non-standard more expensive bottles, which would only be used on a more expensive wine.
posted by cali at 12:16 AM on March 3, 2005

Oh, and Malor is mostly right. There are some whites that age beautifully, but you've probably never drunk one unless it was a bottle of vintage Champagne.
posted by cali at 12:19 AM on March 3, 2005

Talking about wine is like farting about restaurants.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:24 AM on March 3, 2005

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