The Wines of GPT-3

When I read the news that scientists had found chemicals on Venus that could be the product of microbial life, I joyfully tweeted a tasting note of a Venusian wine.

The wines of Venus have high acidity, but the atmospheric terroir crushes all tannic structure. They theoretically pair well with rich foods, but are instantly lethal in the smallest quantities.

@RajivMote on Twitter

This was noticed by science fiction writer and technologist James Yu, who has been playing with Open AI’s GPT-3 project, a machine learning system trained on a vast spread of text from the Web, and does a spooky-good job of generating text similar to prompts it is fed. GPT-3 fleshed out more wines from the solar system. The following are all machine-generated wine notes

The wines of Jupiter are thick and strange, they tend to leather and liquid smoke. The Jupiterians might be unaware of the best pairings, we don’t know, they don’t share.

GPT-3

The wines of Mars, the most common variety, show many faces–the lightest are floral and alive, the darkest offer complete obliteration.

GPT-3

Wines of Saturn, by contrast, are so dry they register only as flavorless astringency.

GPT-3

The most prized wines are of Uranus, and this is no great exaggeration. In its purest, most potable forms Uraanian wine is a kind of kerosene, redolent with the most gorgeously perfected nuances of coal tar. I write this knowing this will be lost on you, but you must believe me: you must make a point of tasting Uranian wines. I’ll have smuggled more along when next we meet.

GPT-3

But GPT-3 was just getting warmed up. It then generated the following passage that blew my mind and filled me with anger and envy that I hadn’t written it.

I once heard of a place where they made wine out of fermented time. Imagine the moment when you met your beloved for the first time. And then imagine a second moment when you met her again in youth, the first time you made love. And finally a third time, older still, when you knew enough to realize what you had perhaps not before: this was the person you would always love. The wine is made from these three moments: the sweetness of the first time, bubbles bursting in your chest; then two-hundred years later, or maybe two-thousand, when the bubbles have gone flat, but the love remains and you have become quiet and wise, and you know that you will always be at home; and every eight years thereafter, a bottle of wine with a slightly different taste depending on what has happened in the intervening years.

GPT-3

I asked James if he’d be willing to run a blog post I’d written, The Lost Wine Varietals of Atlantis, in the same vein through the API. It did not disappoint.

Dolorosa

Flesh and soul of the region. Latin and Italian grapes grown (while parched by months of hot sunshine on limestone and granite) in deep volcanic soils produce this hauntingly bitter, almost saline grape, incapable of making a lifeless wine. Aged Dolorosa cellars, like subterranean Roman ruins, are haunted by temple priests garbed in near-translucent white and sandals smeared with dust from the fields. When poured into a shallow basin of forty-four-degree, mineral spring water, it looses a pneuma of unmistakable minerality and purity.

Semillon Drewish

Green-tinted corpse-yellow surrendered-to-the-reaper–with-condolence-cake Semillon that, upon release from its chill, veers from straight kick in the teeth to lying on the floor laughing ’til you cry, then trying to leer up at you in a seductive, off-kilter way.

Fragranta

Overripe, vaguely rotten, and always sharp-tasting, wines from this grape result in at least five mercifully short-lived lactones. A tasteful after-dinner drink only after sipping 1,000 rounds of espresso, hot slivovitz, or beakers full of 65 percent ethyl alcohol.

Mathildenhöhe

A crisp, graceful(!) Riesling grows here, as graceful as the tall, slender edifice from which it takes it name. The wine could be used as a room deodorizer. The scent of lemon and lime, restrained here, is thrown into giddy relief when paired with the pepper, spice, tartness, notes of sauer-kraut that accompany German preparations of shredded raw pork studded with toasted fennel. It is a mistake to serve with German sausage drinking Strongbow on ice.

GPT-3

I’ve applied for access to GPT-3, but I’ve heard that users with commercial applications are typically favored, so I’m not holding my breath. But some of this magic may become available in James Yu’s and Amit Gupta‘s upcoming product: SudoWrite. It is a writing aid that uses GPT-3 to take things you’ve written and run with them, perhaps in unexpected directions. I’m eager to play. Soon the day will come when I’ll come up with an outline, a few paragraphs of text, and sit back and outsource my creativity to the machines.

Clos du Bois Sonoma Coast Reserve Pinot Noir 2013

A colleague used to work for Constellation Brands, distributing various American wines. He shared his Friends and Family discount, and I used it to buy a “mystery” mixed case for $15/bottle. I just cracked the first bottle, and I’d like to tell you about the 2013 Clos du Bois Sonoma Coast Reserve Pinot Noir ($35 retail).

I liked this one a lot, and it changed what I thought of Clos du Bois. It’s a pretty looking wine — brick to Christmas red. In your nose it’s all cherry and vanilla, telling you exactly what you’re getting: American pinot noir in French oak. This one is silky smooth and a little fuller bodied than I’d expect — the website reveals why: 14.5% ABV. If you’re into doing that, you can really make the legs run down the side of your glass. In the mouth, it’s bright, ripe fruit: cherry on the attack, strawberry in mid-palate and finish, with vanilla throughout. The finish is longer than I expected, and made me think of a cherry compote with game like venison, duck, or boar. Of course, I haven’t had dinner, so factor that in.

This is a great surprise to get in a “mystery case” — a wine I probably would never have picked up on my own, but one I’d now shortlist, drawing me away from being just a Willamette Valley/Burgundy/Russian River snob for Pinot Noir.

The Lost Wine Varietals Of Atlantis

Only tasting notes remain of the legendary wines of lost Atlantis, sunk beneath the restless waves. Atlantean wines were almost always blends, as the varietals in their pure form often carried alarming consequences.

Varietals of the Mnemosyne Valley

The Mnemosyne River Valley in southeast Atlantis is unique in that its north bank is always bathed in the rosy light of dawn while the south bank is in a perpetual star-strewn twilight. Where these microclimates meet and overlap, vintners grow varietals with potent cognitive and emotional qualities, prized as blending grapes to evoke richly complex tasting experiences.

Petit Mort

Musky, peppery aroma, punctuated with floral top notes. Mouth-drying tannins. Sharp on the attack, with alternating waves of languor and ratcheting tension in the midpalate, building to a crescendo and climactic finish that lasts longer with age. Can be cellared for decades, but don’t wait too long — drink lots while young.

Pinot Bleu

Blending grape used to invoke nostalgia around its consumption, proportional to its ratio in the blend. Finish can be sudden and brief, long lasting, or periodically recurring, triggered by a scent or a snatch of melody caught amidst the clamor. Potency increases with age. Bitterly toxic if unblended.

Zelig Blanc

Versatile white, expresses terroir of wherever it’s consumed, under whatever circumstances. No two sips taste exactly alike (as the imbiber is subtly changed by the preceding slip), nor will any two consumers agree on the qualia. Explodes in contact with Pinot Bleu.

Varietals of Ambrosia Mountain

Ambrosia Mountain in northern Atlantis boasts grapes used in the most primordial and mythic of Atlantean wines. The dizzying heights, unforgiving stony soil, and unfiltered light of the sun produces grapes that form the seeds of legends.

Cabernet Achilles

Muscular, aggressively tannic red. Does not pair with food, obliterates any other sensory impressions. Vain and self-centered yet inspiring of admiration and allegiance. Men want to be it; women want to be with it. Laughs at own jokes, bullies white, sparkling, and dessert wines. Respects whisky.

Chamelignan

The most versatile of food wine. Alters body, acidity, residual sugar, alcohol, and flavor profile to complement last bite consumed. Colorless, flavorless, and weightless when sipped alone. Speculated to actually be an oenological Platonic Form, to which all other wine is but a shadow on the cave wall.

Cognet Seipsum

Commonly known as the Fruit of Knowledge, often used with a second fermentation. Forbidden top notes. Complex, balanced, shame-inducing mid-palate, with a long, bitter finish that lingers unto the seventh generation.

Vin Immortus

Massive, deeply colored red with unbreakable tannic structure. Flavors of dark fruit preserves and the dust of eons. Unending finish. May be cellared for millennia or more. Heals wounds, cures illness, reduces urgency. Unblended, confers immortality.

Varietals of the Underworld

The Bleed in southwest Atlantis, where the realms of the dead intersect with those of the living, contains microclimates not to be found on any single plane of existence. Master winemakers use the grapes grown here in small quantities to add a soupçon of suffering, horror, or oblivion, to craft wines of unmatched complexity and nuance.

Cabernet Sothoth

Colors range from cthonic to tenebrous, with a cyclopean, non-Euclidean tannic structure. Mouthfeel is generally loathsome on the attack, with a nameless midpalate and a foreboding, blasphemous finish that resonates beyond the stars. A favorite in the court of the King In Yellow.

Oubliet Noir

Vines grow like noxious weeds along the banks of the Styx. Unctuous, with constrained minerality and a slow, languorous midpalate that drains away both hope and regret. Top notes of pomegranate. A finish that echoes through the Void and recalls… something… it’s gone now. Maybe it didn’t matter.

Petit Enfer

PAIN. Waves and waves of unending pain, eclipsing all other sensation but the top notes of citrus and jasmine.