Blind tasteapalooza

$20 Below: Blind Tasteapalooza #2 Riesling

Plum Creek Cellars Riesling, Colorado, 2008

Price: Around $13.00

Impressions: The aroma and flavor of honey dominated this wine. I also picked up on some kerosene and rubber notes. Little to no fruit on the nose or in the mouth.

From the Winery: 13.3% alcohol

Note: Wine 1 from Blind Tasteapalooza #2

Score: 13/20

 

Beringer Founder’s Estate Riesling, California, 2010

Price: Retails for $10.00-12.00

Impressions: This may have been the biggest surprise in the tasting, standing up pretty well to the KFG and Eroica. Tart green apple and wet stone were apparent, with a nice sweet-tart effect in the mouth. Fragrant, refreshing, and best of all, readily available.

From the Winery: 11.5% alcohol

Note: Wine 2 from Blind Tasteapalooza #2
Score: 17.5/20

 

Charles Smith Wines Kung Fu Girl Riesling, Columbia Valley, 2010

Price: Retails for $12.00

Impressions: As good a wine for $12.00 as you are going to see. Everything about this Kung Fu Girl was impressive, starting with ripe pear and honeysuckle on the nose, a beautiful harmony of sweetness, acid, and fruit in the mouth, and a nice clean finish. Buy this wine in bulk– I certainly plan on it.

From the Winery: 12.5% alcohol

Note: Wine 3 from Blind Tasteapalooza #2

Score: 20/20

 

Chateau Ste. Michelle/Dr. Loosen Eroica Riesling, Columbia Valley, 2010

Price: Retails for $20.00

Impressions: A wine full of surprises. On the nose, it presents with subtle floral notes and fresh lime. In the mouth, however, there’s nothing subtle about the explosion of tart lime, minerality, and the zap of acidity on the finish. A must-try.

From the Winery: 12.5% alcohol

Note: Wine 4 from Blind Tasteapalooza #2

Score: 19.5/20

Posted on by Nick in $20 Below, Blind Tasteapalooza, California, Colorado, Riesling, Washington Leave a comment

Blind Tasteapalooza #2: Four Western Rieslings

WineSpeak USA readers have spoken! The wine selected for the second featured blind tasting was Riesling. Thanks to all of you who voted! I was excited but a bit nervous with this choice. I’m a Riesling fan–it’s refreshing, food-friendly, easily approachable, and a great gateway wine for new wine drinkers, but I find Rieslings and Sparkling Wines the most difficult to evaluate (Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Pinot Noir are much easier for me). Perhaps it’s the cool temperature at which they’re served or it could just be me! Regardless, it presented an exciting challenge.

I sent my wife to a local wine shop to secure three Rieslings–one each from California, Colorado, and Washington. To add a little twist, I decided to throw another selection into the mix, the Chateau Ste. Michelle/Dr. Loosen Eroica Riesling 2010 that I had in my “cellar”. I did not know the identity of the other three Rieslings.

The Setup

The setup for this tasting was easy. I placed four glasses on the table, with a number (1-4) under each. I left the room and my wife randomly numbered the bottles (again 1-4) and poured the bottle into the glass with the corresponding number. Once this process was finished, I re-entered the room. Tasting time!!

The Eye Test

Wine 1 was straw-colored and had the deepest shade of all the wines. Wine 2 was the lightest in color, with a tinge of green. Wines 3 and 4 were nearly identical in color, slightly deeper than Wine 2 but noticeably lighter than Wine 1.

The Sniff Test

Wine 1 was dominated by a honey aroma, with lesser aromas of kerosene and rubber. Wine 2 had the greenest notes of the bunch, with aromas of tart green apple (Granny Smith) and wet stone. Wine 3 featured aromas of ripe pear and honeysuckle. Wine 4 was the least aromatic of the group, with subtle floral notes and fresh lime.

The Taste Test

Wine 1 was very sweet. A fuller-bodied Riesling, the honey aroma on the nose was dominating in the mouth as well. Wine 2 had a bit of sweetness, with tart fruit flavors and nice acidity. Wine 3 had slightly rich flavors, was well-balanced, and had nice acidity. Wine 4 was the biggest surprise. Despite the subtle aromas, this wine exploded in the mouth, with a tartness and generous minerality finished off with a quick lightning zap of acidity.

The Results

Overall, I found Wines 2, 3, and 4 to be in the same quality “ballpark”. Wine 2 was the most aromatic, Wine 3 was delicious and harmonious, and Wine 4 was full of surprises. Wine 1 did not match the quality of the other three but was still very drinkable.

After the wines were tasted, the identities of the three mystery Rieslings were revealed. In no particular order, they were as follows: Beringer Founder’s Estate Riesling 2010, the Charles Smith Wines’ Kung Fu Girl Riesling 2010, and the Plum Creek Riesling 2008.

Curious which wine was which? The identity of each wine will be revealed in Thursday’s $20 Below post. Stay tuned!

Posted on by Nick in Blind Tasteapalooza, California, Colorado, Riesling, Washington, Wine Column Leave a comment

Blind Tasteapalooza #1: California Cabs

I would like to think that I’ve flushed out all of the fallacious assumptions and the resulting prejudice that can go in to evaluating wine from my system. Some of the more dangerous assumptions are as follows:

  • The more a wine costs, the better it is. WRONG!
  • If there’s a screw-cap on the bottle, the wine isn’t any good. WRONG!
  • The producer has a great reputation, so the wine has to be good. Not always.

Blind tastings are a great tool to reinforce that you are not still holding on to these assumptions at a subconscious level. I recently held what I will call a semi-blind tasting, as I knew the three wines to be tasted but did not know the order that they were to be poured. The wines in question were three California cabernet sauvignons, specifically the B.R. Cohn 2008 North Coast Silver Label, the Gnarly Head 2010 California, and the Rodney Strong 2009 Sonoma County.

The Setup

The setup for this tasting was simple. I placed 3 glasses on the table, with a number (1-3) under each. I left the room and my lovely assistant (a/k/a my wife) randomly numbered the bottles (again 1-3) and poured the bottle into the glass with the corresponding number. Once this process was finished, I re-entered the room. Tasting time!!

The Eye Test

Wine 1 was lightest is color, just a shade lighter than Wine 2. Wine 3 was dense and deep in color, far darker than Wine 1 and Wine 2.

The Sniff Test

Wine 1 featured aromas of red cherries, followed by tar and tobacco. Wine 2 gushed toasted coconut, followed by ripe, dark berries and sweet spice. Wine 3 emitted a strong tea-like aroma, with little to no fruit detected.

The Taste Test

Wine 1 was a lighter-bodied cab, with generous acid. All of the aromas carried over into the mouth. Wine 2 had a heavier body than Wine 1 and the acid and slight sweetness were nicely balanced. Oak was abundant in the mouth, but did not overwhelm the fruit flavors. Wine 3 was by far the heaviest in the mouth, with flavors of bing cherry and freshly chopped wood. The flavors of Wine 3 were certainly an improvement over the aroma, but I was slightly afraid that I was going to get a splinter in my mouth!

The Results

Overall, I found Wine 1 and Wine 2 to be nearly identical in quality. Wine 1 was the lighter colored, lighter-bodied, and more acidic of the group and had some very interesting, distinctive aromas and flavors. Wine 2 was medium to full-bodied and presented a nice marriage of fruit and oak. Wine 3 was a step down from Wines 1 and 2. It was a little bit flabby and didn’t offer much as far as aroma, although it was decent to the taste.

Curious which wine was which? The identity of each wine will be revealed in Thursday’s $20 Below post. Stay tuned!

 

Note- Next week’s “weekly wine column” will highlight my upcoming visit to The Infinite Monkey Theorem, a Denver-area urban winery. I’m really looking forward to the visit and can’t wait to write about it!

 

Posted on by Nick in Blind Tasteapalooza, Cabernet Sauvignon, California, Wine Column 5 Comments