Replica Wine Showdown: Is There a Perceptible Difference?

Wine-Searcher's W. Blake Gray conducts blind taste test

Replica Wine created a lineup of wines made to taste like popular American wines.

The Colorado-based company Replica Wine is “unapologetically recreating your favorite wines,” because “originality is overrated, especially when it’s overpriced.”

Its chief wine officer, Brett Zimmerman, told Wine-Searcher that the company utilizes chromatography to “create a roadmap for the winemakers to use.” The wine is tested for more than 60 taste and aroma markers. This data is given to “skilled winemakers” who create the “master forgeries,” supposedly allowing consumers to enjoy the tastes of their favorite wines without the expensive price tags.

W. Blake Gray, Wine-Searcher’s California editor and the 2013 winner of the 2013 Roederer Award for Online Wine Columnist/Blogger of the Year, sought to determine how good these replicas actually are. He put two wines to the test: Pickpocket, a replica of The Prisoner; and Knockoff, a ‘knockoff’ of Kendall-Jackson.

Gray invited a friend who is also a professional food writer to partake in the taste test. Pickpocket passed the imposter test, as Gray’s friend could not tell the difference. However, Gray was not fooled and thought The Prisoner was the better wine: “more complex, less sweet, with better texture.”

For Knockoff, the difference was obvious, though both actually preferred the ‘knockoff,’ which tasted “clean, straightforward and fruity.”

On the legality of Replica Wine’s work, Gray said, “They're not suggesting they're making Kendall-Jackson. They're suggesting if you like Kendall-Jackson, you'll like this wine.”


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