Friday, November 23, 2007

Blind Tasting Results

Yesterday, before Thanksgiving dinner, we conducted our aforementioned blind wine tasting (notice the cloaked bottles in the first picture below). The intent of this tasting was to determine which varietal we prefer without being biased by preconceived notions. I wanted our guests to feel as enthused about this as I was, so I "sold" the event hard. I appreciate the enthusiasm they all showed for the tasting- everyone took it very seriously and appeared to be enjoying themselves.



I chose each of the wines because I felt they were highly representative of each varietal. They were all rated (by Wine Spectator) between 88 and 90 points, so they were all similar in quality. The wines included in the tasting were (in the order they were randomly presented):
  1. 2004 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley (88 points, $27)
  2. 2004 Sanford Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills (89 points, $28)
  3. 2003 Columbia Crest Merlot Grand Estates (90 points, $11)
  4. 2005 Yellow Tail South Eastern Australia The Reserve (90 points, $11)
In the image below is the order of finish from "favorite" to "least favorite":
  1. 2005 Yellow Tail South Eastern Australia The Reserve (90 points, $11)
  2. 2003 Columbia Crest Merlot Grand Estates (90 points, $11)
  3. 2004 Sanford Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills (89 points, $28)
  4. 2004 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley (88 points, $27)



Interesting notes from the tasting:
  • Every single taster selected the Yellow Tail Shiraz as their favorite; it was unanimous.
  • One taster stated that Cabernet was their favorite varietal coming into the tasting because of its "big" taste. That rater gave low marks to the Robert Mondavi Cabernet and was (I think) surprised by the big taste of the Shiraz.
  • One taster stated that "Sanford Pinot" was their absolute favorite wine (and then proceeded to give it the lowest marks of the bunch *by far*).

I'm left wondering whether the favorite wine of the bunch won because it was the boldest, or because it was the best? When tasting these wines head to head some of the wines seemed "unremarkable". Perhaps these wines would be appreciated more on their own -or- when served with a meal? At any rate, it was interesting to see that the more affordable wines were preferred to the more expensive ones.

The next tasting we do will be low, medium and high quality Cabernets where the price aligns to the Wine Spectator rating.

There was a "quiz" where each taster guessed the varietals, elements of the aroma/taste, the Wine Spectator score, and the retail price. I'm pleased to announce that Sarah won that competition and should be referred to as "wine afficionado" upon entering a room.

Sam took the tasting very seriously, and continues to insist that Chateauneuf du Pape is his favorite:




Note to Child Protective Services: This is a gag photo.

2 comments:

Gpa said...

I was one of the fortunate attendees @ Bob's blind tasting. The advance hype was endured, and all were eager to begin. Immediately, Bob's exhaustive research and planning paid dividends. The wow's, the sigh's, the moments spent in raptured appreciation filled the air. I applaud his choice of the four examples presented. Great job Bob! But in final analysis, my most vivid memory of this notable event were these key outstanding features: we started @ noon (hadn't done that for a while), for four people there were four bottles plus backups, and for chaser was Dee's turkey and trimmin's. Wow. I even snuck out a couple of bottles in my suitcase.

Bob said...

Awww- thanks for the nice comments, G-Pa! I appreciated your enthusaism then and now. That tasting *was* quite memorable. I don't want to reveal too many details of the lineup just yet, but I'm looking forward to a very special Cabernet tasting I have prepared for us for Christmas.

See you then!

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