A new business called Replica Wines claims to produce "master forgeries" of well-known wines, deploying a throng of chemical instruments and a huge flavor database to blend near-identical versions of the wines from different grapes.
Ava Winery, meanwhile, takes a different approach, bypassing grapes entirely, and going straight for the molecules — combining flavor chemicals with ethanol and water to reproduce the experience of wine, without replicating the process.
It should be noted that it's a bit unfair to compare the two. Replica is part of an established company — the Colorado-based Integrated Beverages Group — with a line of commercial products and a team that includes a master sommelier and several distinguished winemakers. Ava is more of a lark, a thought experiment that might never have germinated outside of the hothouse conditions of San Francisco start-up culture. Its initial offering, a bottle of imitation 1992 Dom Perignon, is not yet for sale — and may never be. But these two very different companies showcase the ambitions, and limits, of chemical analysis when it comes to subjective qualities such as flavor.
The fact that I am considered an adult is both terrifying and hillarious