Going Blind

If you have never been to a blind tasting before, you are missing out. They are loads of fun and give yourself an opportunity to really test you wine tasting skills.  The Wine Cellar here in Midlothian had a special tasting this past Sunday night that paired ~$25 wines against ~$50 wines of the same varietal to see if we could really tell the difference. The first hour of the tasting all the bottles were bagged up, and then the second hour we were giving our cheat sheet and the bags were removed to see how well you did. I was about 40% correct and the wife was about 60% correct, definitely a shot to the wine ego.  The cool part was that of the a few of the wines I got “wrong” I liked them better and scored them as the more expensive wine. I should’ve known better!


We had 18 wines to taste, 9 different pairings from all over the world. Below is the wine list and my tasting notes for the evening.  On the original tasting sheets all were told was where the wines were from and what the varietal was. On the “cheat sheet” it gave us the prices and the winery.

 

The Whites

Verdejo from Spain

A – (Naia $17) – round, lemon, citrus, crisp finish of lemon zest and mineral

B – (Naides $31) – oaky, pear, thinner and more acidic than a with tropical fruit notes

 

Chardonnay from California and France

A – (Domaine Vocoret Premier Cru Chablie La Foret $33) – pear, apple and a hint of tangerine, clean mineral finish

B – (Hartfort Court Four Hearts Vineyard $46) – very oaky nose, cooked fruit aromas, weird hint of spiciness (could be alcohol), wood, applesauce flavors on the finish

 

The Reds

Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

A – (Vinum Cellars Slow Lane $26) – meaty nose, raspberry and leather, dusty tannins

B – (Veraison Stage Coach Vineyard $55) – green veggie notes, black raspberry aromas and flavors, strong tannins

 

Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

A – (Jordan $58) – cedar box, loads or fresh raspberry aromas, with black cherry and leathery notes, firm tannins

B – (Hart’s Desire $31) – cedar, blackberry and leather aromas with big tannins and a cooked green bean finish

 

Napa Valley Merlot

A – (Ghost Pines $23) – tomato sauce and grilled meat aromas, raspberry flavor predominant with dusty tannins

B – (Shafer $53) – dark fruit nose, not as full and round as A, more intense fruit flavors, hint of leather and a bit of “heat”

 

Oregon Pinot Noir – Same Winery

A – (Panther Creek Freedom Hill Vineyard $45) – raw green bean nose, strawberry, cedar and rhubarb with cranberry flavor at the finish

B – (Panther Creek Winemakers Cuvee $25) – smoky cardboard aromas, earth and rose, not a fan

 

Petite Sirah

A – (Rosenblum Rhodes Vineyard $28) – amazing pepperoni on the nose with sweet cedar and black currant flavors good acidity and smooth

B – (Peltier Station $17) – rasin, prune and fig on the nose, very round and plush on the palate yet nice dry tannins, fruity fun wine

 

Shiraz from Barossa and McLaren Vale

A – (Hugh Hamilton The Rascal McLaren Vale $21) – hint of funk, cabbage and licorice on the nose, mostly cherry flavors and a dry finish

B – (Thorn Clarke Willam Randell Barossa Valley $38) – floral and caramel on the nose, dark fruit good acidity and tannin integration

 

Zinfandel from the Same Winery

A – (Rosenblum Harris Kratka Vineyard $40) – raisin, fig and chocolate on the nose, blackberry and leather flavors good dry finish for such a fruity wine

B – (Rosenblum Aparicio Vineyard $28) – lighter fruit flavors than A, caramel and Port like aromas, with butterscotch flavors at the finish

 

There was a great turnout for the event so it was quite crowded around the different tables so there was about 4-5 minutes in between the wines. I think I would have done better if I could have each glass side by side for true comparison, but the logistics of that would be crazy in this setting. All in all a very fun evening, complete with cheese and meat pairings although we only stuck to the cheese. This type of an event will definitely show you that the price tag doesn’t always reflect the quality and that just because it is twice as expensive doesn’t mean it’s twice as good.  That’s not to say that there aren’t some damn good $50+ wines out there, some of which were at this tasting.

 

Cheers!

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