Blue wine is a thing now and no it's not artificial. PICTURE: Independent
It's really, really blue. Mouthwash blue. Smurf blue - those little guys probably get hammered on this stuff. It's a blue that you'd think wouldn't be found in nature, except it is: The wine gets its colour from anthocyanin, a pigment found in grape skins, and indigotine, a dye extracted from plants.

Gik (it rhymes with "ick") hails from Spain, where the company's co-founders - none of whom had any experience in the wine industry - decided they wanted to create something. They worked with a team of chemical engineers at the University of the Basque Country to develop the wine's unusual colour.

"Thanks to them, we discovered that the best way to create it was to go back to the beginning and merge nature and technology: we mix different varieties of grapes and after that, we use two organic pigments to turn it blue," Aritz López, one of the wine's creators, said in an email. "Then, we improve the flavour and make it easy to drink."

The grapes are a mixture of red and white, which come from wineries in Spain and France. Noncaloric sweeteners are added to make a chilled, dessert-like wine that its founders say pairs well with guacamole, sushi - or anything, really. They seem to be intentionally vague, either because they want the maximum number of people to buy it, or because it goes with nothing at all.

The wine has been popular with consumers, but not well-received among the oenophile community in Europe. (Surprise, surprise: Wine snobs don't want to drink a beverage that looks like early-aughts Hpnotiq.)

"The most traditional part of the Spanish wine sector has encouraged us to 'leave the industry alone and go create apps,' and even told us that Gik was a 'terrible invention,' " López said.

We served blue wine to a panel of blindfolded tasters to see if they could identify it and the four other colors of wine - red, white, rosé and orange. Previous studies have found that our perception of wines is often based on visual cues. In a famous study, red and white wines were kept at room temperature and poured into black glasses, and tasters could not tell the difference between the two.  

But Gik is so distinctive that many were able to pick it out right away, for better or worse. Tasting notes included: "Blue Jolly Ranchers," "Robitussin," "Capri Sun" and "Gross." It was a highly polarizing drink. Not surprising, people who prefer sweet wines thought it was great, and people who prefer dry wines thought it was disgusting. When it comes to the United States, it will retail for less than $15 a bottle - just the right price for an impulse purchase for a party. 

The Washington Post