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Spanish scientists working on 'electronic tongue'

A new device which mimics the human tongue is being developed by researchers in Spain to identify different types of Cava wines and produce automatic classifications similar to those used by sommeliers. The electronic tongue, developed at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, will initially be used to detect flaws in the production process, but it is also able to precisely quantify the amount of sugar added after secondary fermentation. Its this that will enable classification of cava wines from the driest 'Brut Nature' at less than 3 grams of sugar per litre to 'Sweet' at more than 50 grams per litre.

Manel del Valle, the lead scientist on the project says sommeliers need not worry because the electronic tongue is more suited to automated testing on a winery production floor and cannot distinguish nuances in the wine.