Sommeliers don’t need to worry about their jobs yet, but researchers at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona have developed a device that is capable of identifying types of cava, a sparkling wine from Spain. The device “combines chemical measurement systems and advanced mathematical procedures, including an “artificial neural network,” that mimics the human tongue and brain to parse levels of sweetness.”
The device is still in the development phase, as it can identify only three of the seven types of cava. Like champagne, levels of sweetness are a key difference between types. Cava ranges from Brut Nature (no sugar added) to Sweet (more than 50 grams of sugar per liter). At the moment, it’s envisioned primarily as a quality control tool for wineries due to its limited range of measurement. (More.)
Undoubtedly, sensor technology will improve in coming years and devices will get more sophisticated in the way they can analyze both aromas and taste. I suspect it will be many years, though, before we can get automated tasting notes that are reliable and reproducible.