In this era of digital domination, it was only a matter of time before someone took the time-honored craft of choosing the perfect wine for a dish and adapted it to an always-on service for diners with smartphones. That someone is Matteo Sarica, a computer scientist with a background in the family wine business. Sarica combined his dual passions for technology and wine to create Sommly, a wine app that puts a digital sommelier in the user’s pocket. “The scope of the app is to be your personal sommelier,” Sarica says. “I’m not just trying to [create] a different wine app—my niche is the pairing. I think having a great meal without a great wine should be illegal.”
To monetize the app and create e-commerce opportunities, Sarica partnered with wine importer Ribevi Wines International to become the exclusive online retailer for Ribevi’s wine selection. He developed another partnership with Cuisine Solutions—a global leader in sous vide—offering users the ability to receive pairing suggestions for Cuisine Solutions dishes and to purchase them through the app.
With Sommly, Sarica takes a novel approach to pairing wine, thinking beyond the typical terroir considerations and embracing a technique called contrapposizione, or contraposition. “When you eat something fatty or greasy, like a steak, what do you drink? You want something that has bubbles, because [sparkling wines] have the effect of cutting through the fat and cleansing the palate,” he explains.
To better understand the technique, Sarica recommends a simple experiment: Cut a few pieces of Parmesan cheese, and pour small amounts of a red and a white wine into glasses. Eat a piece of cheese, sip the red wine, and try to remember the feeling. Then have a sip of water and repeat the process with the white wine. “Once you do this, you will clearly understand the type of message I’m trying to bring to the world,” Sarica says.
The Sommly wine pairing app is free to download on the App Store. The app is designed to revolutionize the way consumers choose, purchase, and experience wine.
Tap the Search icon to peruse wines by name, browse Cuisine Solutions’ food options, or search for specific grapes.
Purchase any of Ribevi’s wines via this tab. Tapping on a selected bottle leads to information on the grapes, bouquet, taste, and finish, plus insights on how the wine was aged and the optimal types of food for pairing.
Select from an assortment of Cuisine Solutions’ prepared dishes, ranging from seared short ribs and rack of lamb to grilled salmon and eggplant confit. A product page yields a description of the dish, nutrition data, and wine pairings, as well as heating instructions.
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