Saturday, August 13, 2016


A replica is an exact copy or reproduction of something else.

Replica Cellars of Healdsburg, California "unapologetically replicates your favorite wines" (back label) using chemical instruments and a huge flavor data base.  After its initial examination, Colorado-based Integrated Beverage Group, owner of Replica, then turns to independent chemical laboratory, Ellipse Analytics, for further process detailing.

Ellipse identifies, compares, and quantifies macrocomponents like sugars, acidity, and tannins before isolating individual volatile flavor chemicals (microcomponents).  The rest of the process then reverts to the purely subjective: trained tasters delineate the flavor profile of the wine before finally making a blend that mimics the original.  The replica is asserted to be 90% accurate and without extraneous flavor additives.

So what's going on here?  Replica calls themselves "master forgers" with taglines like "Originality is over-rated, especially when it's overpriced."  So are these guys more akin to the oil painting forgers who are themselves artists or are they just counterfitters who use the latest technology?  Or since science and technology are already everywhere in the wine business and copying of wines probably goes back to clay pottery days, is this really just the latest in wink-and-a-nod wine marketing?

The fact that Replica uses no chemical flavorings is telling.  That says they are traditional and maybe even conservative.  Moreover, they say they will not duplicate a terroir-specific wine, which is...   respectful.  Back on March 26th of this year we wrote about Mega-Purple and the other additives mass marketers and less-than-scrupulous others use to make popular styled wines.  If Replica isn't going that route then they are just another mainstream winery.  Pop songwriters used to talk about the "hook" in pop music that would catch the casual listener's attention.  Maybe Replica similarly just embellishes the popular aspect of a given wine.

In the store at this time we have the Replica Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay which are both very good.  If you want to know what each is replicating you'll have to stop in the store.

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