BLANKBOTTLE Orbitofrontal Cortex 2016

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ORBITOFRONTAL CORTEX 2016 a white blend of Grenache blanc, Fernão Pires, Chenin blanc, Verdelho, Semillon and Clairette blanche - the best white blend from my cellar according to my conscious mind, named after the scientific name for the part of your brain where conscious decisions are made - Inspired by LIMBIC 2015 (a wine from my subconscious).

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The release of the best 2016 white blend in the cellar: ORBITOFRONTAL CORTEX 2016 - named after the part of your brain where conscious decisions are made. Last year around this time I released Limbic 2015 as well as its counterpart Orbitofrontal Cortex 2015. As most of you know, the blend for Limbic was compiled by tapping into my subconscious with EEG technology and creating the best wine in the cellar according to my subconscious.

We also then, with our conscious minds made Orbitofrontal Cortex 2015 - the best wine in the cellar made with our Conscious mind. Now Limbic was a once off but we decided to release the best white blend from our cellar as Orbitofrontal Cortex year-on-year. And from one year to the next, the combination of cultivars might vary. The style of the 2016 is very close to the 2015 OFC, just a bit better I think… It is a blend of Grenache blanc, Fernão Pires, Chenin blanc, Verdelho, Semillon and Clairette blanche.

The story behind the origin of ORBITOFRONTAL CORTEX 2016:

In October 2015 I was sitting on a plane heading to Joburg, next to a guy who was (or so it seemed) plugged into his computer with wires and stuff. It looked like he was communicating with the machine in a way. When we had landed I asked him what on earth he was doing. He told me that he and his clinical psychologist business partner had started a marketing company called Neural Sense, based in Cape Town.

They conduct market research by tapping into people's subconscious reactions to various inputs. I love weird things, so I told him I make wine and if ever he wanted to do something with wine he was welcome to get in contact. And he did. Three months later I was sitting at the table in my winery hooked onto machines. All my subconscious reactions (in the LIMBIC part of my brain) to each of the 21 components were to be measured and recorded - a camera looking me in the eyes (for eye reactions), a thing on my finger (for blood oxygen levels), a heart rate monitor on my chest, something on my arm (for arousal levels e.g. heat/sweat) and a mobile EEG device on my head (for monitoring my brain waves).

It was the time of year where I had to make up final blends and I was sitting with 21 different white wine components in barrel, which were ready for blending and bottling. They were all different varietals from different areas and vineyards. So my assistant winemaker, Julia, took samples from all the barrels and put them into glasses, which my wife marked from 1 to 21. For each wine I would first close my eyes, then open them and they would start recording with the camera, hand me any wine and prompt me to nose, taste and spit - constantly monitoring and recording my heart rate, blood stuff and activity in my subconscious.

Of course I can’t control my subconscious - before I think of reacting, I already had. We tasted through all 21 wines. I obviously spat, washed my mouth with water in between and we even did a few with clean water in my mouth and used that as a control or base reaction. This process took a whole day. I like to call it work. Their job was now to analyse the data. The way I understand it is that they look at all the parts of my brain that reacted, compare it with all the other blood and heart monitors and then work out with mathematical algorithm what I liked and disliked. T

he analysis of the data took months, so in the meantime Julia and I decided to blend a control - the best possible white blend from the same 21 parcels - making use of our conscious mind; the ORBITOFRONTAL CORTEX. When the results came, the two wines were so different! We blended both and bottled the 2 wines. Please note - we are NOT trying to prove something with this experiment. We were just trying to have fun. And we did… So, LIMBIC 2015 - Wellington Chenin blanc, Darling Chenin blanc, Swartland Clairette blanche, Upper Hemel and Aarde Pinot Gris and Stellenbosch Viognier And ORBITO FRONTAL CORTEX 2015 - Piekenierskloof Grenache blanc, Swartland Clairette blanche, Swartland Fernão Pires, Elgin Semillon and Voor Paardeberg Verdelho. The label: The face of the person I did as a linocut. Printed with black block ink. Printed on organic paper and hand labeled.