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At each Blind Tasting League gathering, using the techniques of the masters, you will learn how to identify the grape, country of origin and more and more as we progress through the wide world of wine. You can pick and choose the classes but the more you come, the more you learn!

August 2 Blind Tasting Results

 

The Wine: Bidoli Sauvignon Blanc, Friuli, Italy, 2016

What we Tasted: "Perfumy," Grapefruit, Lemongrass, Flinty, Floral, "Dove Soap," Apricot, Pine, "Under-ripe Banana," "Caramelized Sugar," Saline

What we Guessed: New Zealand Chardonnay, French Viognier, French Chenin Blanc, French Sauvignon Blanc

What we Thought: This wine caused a lot of sour faces in our tasting panel, but most of us warmed up to it.  "Needs food" said one taster, "This would work well with seafood" said another. After several more sips, one taster said "The more I drink it, the more I like it." The crisp acidity and intense minerality made it a wine that would happily keep some shellfish company!

The Wine: Sisters Forever Chardonnay, Central Coast, California, 2015

What we Tasted: "stinky guava," Pineapple, "Circus Peanut Candy," Musky, "Slightly burned marshmallow," Little bit of oak, "Under-ripe bannana," Toast, "Spinach," Malolactic, "male cat-pee"

What we Guessed: Italian Pinot Grigio, South African Chenin Blanc, Italian Sauvignon Blanc, California Chardonnay

What we Thought: This wine divided our tasting panel. While some liked it, it got mixed reviews from some of our tasters. "Not crazy about it, but I like it," said one taster. Another said it "needs the right atmosphere" and said that he could picture drinking it by a roaring fire in the winter. I enjoyed this rich and creamy, but oakless Chardonnay.

The Wine: Sean Minor Pinot Noir, Central Coast, California, 2015

What we Tasted: "Cooked Strawberries," Clove, "raspberry Jam," Cherry, Lemon Peel, Lavender, Cinnamon, "Goji Berry," "Dried figs," "Inside of Cherry Toaster Strudel"

What We Guessed: Bordeaux red, Washington State Pinot Noir, California Pinot Noir

What we Thought: This wine was almost instantly recognized as Pinot Noir by most of our panel. Most of us were big fans of the fruity and floral nose, and enjoyed the soft flavors of this wine. One taster mentioned that it "needs lamb," although most of us were happy to drink it on its own.

The Wine: Bruce Patch Zinfandel, Sonoma County California, 2015

What we Tasted: Cigar, Black cherry, peppermint, Cedar, Clove, Toffee, Eucalyptus, vanilla, pepper, cinnamon, "plywood"

What we Guessed: Chilean Cabernet, Australian Shiraz, California Cabernet

What we Thought: This was the "best in show" of the night. We all enjoyed this well crafted and complex Zinfandel. Comments ranged from "I really like this," to "it's so complex." One taster said it was "beautiful." Pretty high praise indeed!

 

 

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July 5th Blind Tasting Results

 

Another fun night of blind tasting and I actually got all of them right for once! That rarely happens so I have to brag when I can. A high scoring game by all with some really great wines to taste.

The Wine: Vignerons du Mont Ventoux Viognier, Provence, France, 2016

What we Tasted: Pear, Grapefruit, Peach, Guava, "River Rock", Lemongrass, Honey, Melon, Tangerine, Perfume, Mineral, "Soapy"

What we Guessed: Italian Pinot Grigio, French Sauvignon Blanc, Southern French Viognier

What we Thought: This wine was very well received by our tasting panel. Most of us enjoyed the aromatic, perfumed nose and crisp acidity that this wine presented. There were a few that weren't as impressed though. One taster said it was "good, but doesn't blow me away," another said it was "Ok. Nothing special," and one taster said they were "not a fan." 

 

The Wine: Thomas Henry Chardonnay, Sonoma County, California, 2016

What we Tasted: Vanilla, Mushroom, Flowers, Cantaloupe, "buttery," Bananas, "Lemon drop candy," Apricot, "Sandalwood," Green Apple

What we Guessed: German Riesling, Argentinian Sauvignon Blanc, Languedoc Chardonnay, Italian Pinot Grigio, "Cool climate California Chardonnay"

What we Thought: This wine received high marks from our tasting panel! "It's a complex wine" said one taster, "the flavors are fascinating" said another. Some tasters were not fans though. "It's too acidic" one taster said, "I'm not especially fond of this one" said another. Most tasters enjoyed this surprisingly affordable wine.

 

The Wine: Roco "Gravel Road" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon, 2013

What we Tasted: Red Fruit, Strawberries, Cedar, Vanilla, Sour Cherries, Dill, "Liquid Smoke"

What we Guessed: Spanish Grenache, Tuscan Sangiovese, "Young Chianti", California Zinfandel, California Pinot Noir

What we Thought: While most of our tasting panel enjoyed this wine, many of our tasters thought that it was more of a food wine. "I like it" said one taster, "really complex" said another. Some others were not as impressed. "Not for me" was one taster's opinion, "Not crazy about it" said another. Another taster said that they liked it but it "needs pasta." I loved it, but I do agree that it is a terrific and versatile wine to pair with food.

The Wine: Ancient Peaks Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, California, 2015

What we tasted: "Spicy Pepper," "Medicinal Herbs," Blackberry Jam, "Adobo," Black Tea, Smoke, "Stomped on raisin with dirt," Black Olive, Tobacco, "Burnt Toast Finish"

What we Guessed: Australian Shiraz, California merlot, California Zinfandel, Argentinian malbec, Argentine Cabernet

What we Thought: This wine was dubbed the "best in show"of the night by our tasting panel. This Cab was big and slightly smoky, which really worked with our panel's taste buds. "all I want to do is smell this" said one taster as she revealed that she hadn't even gotten herself to taste it yet. "Beautiful" said one taster, "I love it" said another. All around, it was a very popular wine!

 

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June 7th Blind Tasting Results

The Wine: Bayten Sauvignon Blanc, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, 2016

What we Tasted: Rose petals, Apple, Slate, Apricot, Flint, "Week-old Butter," Orange Blossom, Minerals, Lemongrass, Clay, "Burnt Sugar, Green Apple, "Citronella Candle"

What we Guessed: Nobody guessed that this was Sauvignon Blanc. This South African Wine didn't show the usual floral, grassy, gooseberry flavors that most of us were expecting. Guesses were German Pinot Grigio, Washington State Pinot Gris, French Chardonnay, and Washington State Viognier

What we Thought: Despite no one guessing that this wine was Sauvignon Blanc, most of us enjoyed it. "It's easy drinking," said one taster, "Very smooth" said another and a third just said that she "Likes it." A few tasters were not so pleased though. "Tastes like generic white wine," said one taster and another said it was "not thrilling." If you detest the intense grapefruit flavor of many Sauvignon Blancs, this might be worth a taste!

The Wine: Raats Unwooded Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2016

What we Tasted: "Sulphur Dioxide," "Soapy," "Dried Pineapple," Ginger, "Grassy," "Musky," Dirt, Citrus, "Sandalwood," "Chemical taste"

What we Guessed: One taster nailed this one! The rest of us were searching all over the West Coast of the US for where this one might be from. Guesses were U.S. Pinot Grigio, Washington State Chardonnay, Southern California Chardonnay, and South African Chenin Blanc.

What we Thought: As you can probably tell from the descriptions, this one was controversial wiith our tasting panel, our tasters tended to love it or hate it. One taster commented that it had "lots of flavor" and another exclaimed "I like it!" There were some who didn't like it though. "It doesn't do anything for me" said one taster, and another said it was "flabby" and had "no personality."

The Wine: Raisins Gaulois Gamay, beaujolais, France, 2016

What we Tasted: "Musty, Funky Berries," Fresh Blackberries," Earth, Smoky, "Red raspberry," "Old Feet," "Sour Hi-C Fruit Punch"

What we Guessed: This one fooled a lot of our tasting panel as well but a few of us got it right. Guesses were New Zealand Pinot Noir, Spanish Tempranillo, Australian Syrah, Beaujolais Gamay.

What We Thought: Not a big hit with our tasting panel. "Nope, don't like it," said one taster, "Thumbs down," said another. One taster guessed that it was a "young, inexpensive Pinot Noir." Ouch! I guess Gamay isn't for everybody.

The Wine: Macedon Pinot Noir, Macedonia, 2014

What we Tasted: Coffee, Cinnamon, Tobacco, Raisins, Chocolate, Currants, "Sun Dried Tomato," Tart Cherry, Anise, Almonds, "Sour Strawberry"

What we Guessed: This was the "dirty trick" of the night. Nobody knew what a Macedonian Pinot Noir tasted like and obviously no one guessed it. The win goes to the taster who guessed Oregon Pinot Noir! Other guesses included Tuscan Sangiovese, California Zinfandel, and I was sure that this was an aged Tempranillo from Rioja.

What we Thought: Although no one guessed this Pinot Noir from such an obscure country, it was well received by our tasting panel. One taster said "I could drink this," another said they "liked" it. I really enjoyed the raisiny, spicy flavor of this Pinot, but not everyone was as pleased. One taster said it "needed food," and another said they "didn't like it at all." So maybe not the perfect wine for your next dinner party, but it was a pretty good showing for a $16 Pinot Noir.

 

 

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May 5th Blind Tasting Results

Another exciting night at Asheville’s Blind Tasting League, and a high scoring game as well! Our taste buds were tuned in and we were guessing very accurately.

The Wine:  Riff Pinot Grigio, Veneto, Italy, 2015
What We Tasted: Lemongrass, Honeysuckle, Lemon, Earth, Pear, Green Apple, “Plastic,” “Wet Slate,” Strawberry
What we Guessed: Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc, German Riesling, Loire Valley Chenin Blanc, Italian Pinot Grigio
What we Thought: This affordable Pinot Grigio was relatively popular with our group overall. Comments ranged from “So-so,” to “I wouldn’t turn it down,” to “I could drink a lot of this!” Tasters commented on its “smooth finish” and “light body,” but some thought that it “needs food.” Still a good showing for an $11 Pinot Grigio.

The Wine: Frisk “Prickly Riesling,” Victoria, Australia, 2015
What we Tasted: “Petrol,” Unripe Peach, “White Camping Gas,” Passion fruit, “Pool Floaties,” Pear, Spicy, “Diesel fuel,” Round Mouthfeel, “Sparkling Pear Juice from the kid’s table at Thanksgiving,” Apple Cobbler
What we Guessed: We were all pretty sure this was Riesling, but we couldn’t agree on where it was from. Guesses were German Riesling, Alsatian Riesling, “Riesling from somewhere else”, Sauvignon Blanc
What we Thought: Despite having a little residual sugar, this wine was really popular with our tasting panel! “I like it,” said one taster, “I could drink that!” exclaimed another, and one taster said that the flavor was “soothing.” A few tasters didn’t like it as much, one just said “not so much” while another taster who wrinkled up her nose at the diesel smell of the wine admitted that “it tastes better than it smells.” Most of us agreed that it had a “lingering finish,” and would be “good with dessert.”

The Wine: Jason Stephens Merlot, Santa Clara Valley, California, 2012
What we Tasted: “Wet Pavement,” Medicinal, “Freshly Painted Room,” Plum, “Saddle Leather,” Chocolate covered Cherry, Dried Figs, Blackberry, Anise, Cigar, Vanilla
What we Guessed: California Bordeaux-Style Blend, High Altitude Chilean Zinfandel, Argentinian Cabernet, California Merlot, California Pinot Noir
What we Thought: As soon as we got our noses into our glasses, a wave of oohs and aahhs swept through the room. I feel like that is a very good sign! I don’t think there was a single negative comment on this wine. “It’s great,” said one taster, “I’m a fan,” said another, “so smooth!” said another. This is why blind tasting is so great! It’s been hard to get our customers to try merlot in the post-Sideways world we live in now, and our entire panel really enjoyed this one when they didn’t know it was Merlot. Always trust your own taste buds over the opinions of wine experts!

The Wine: Four Vines Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi, California, 2014
What we Tasted: Red Raspberries, Black Pepper, “Cherry cotton candy,” Vanilla, “Jammy,” Mulberry, “Rust,” “Grape Bubble Gum,” “The inside of a powedered jelly doughnut”
What we Guessed: Northern California Barbera, California Zinfandel, California Cabernet Franc, Italian Nebbiolo, “Atypical Pinot Noir”
What we Thought: This one wasn’t as popular with our tasting panel as the previous Merlot. While some found it “inoffensive,” or “not horrible,” it was downright disliked by some others. “This tastes like a by the glass wine at a restaurant” said one taster, another said it was “the diet coke of wine” and one guessed that it was a “Gallo wine.” Ouch!

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April 5th Blind Tasting Results

At our most recent Blind Tasting League, we had the opportunity to meet with the “Treasure Hunter” himself, Hunter Vogel. Hunter is a modern day negociant, he buys wine from some of the top producers in California, Washington State and Europe, and bottles them under his Treasure Hunter label. He donated two of the wines for our Blind Tasting League that night, and we had a lot of fun speaking with him about how he chooses the wines he buys, and also how he is able to convince the winemakers to sell them to him for pennies on the dollar!

The Wine: Zaca Mesa Viognier, Santa Ynez Valley, California, 2014

What we Tasted: Pineapple, Grapefruit, Apple, “Metal Nail File,” Marshmallow, Honey, “Cavity Filling,” Tropical Fruit, “Bitter Mineral”

What we Guessed: Our tasting group was mostly split between Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc, and most of us guessed that we were in France on this one. We were way off! We didn’t pick up much in the way of the usual floral Viognier aromas, and mostly got rich, citrus fruit flavors.

What we Thought: We were split on what we thought of this acid-heavy Viognier. Some tasters thought that it “needs food,” and one specifically said that it “needs Salmon,” while some liked it on its own. “I would just drink it by itself” said one acid-loving taster, and I agreed. We all agreed that it would happily keep a Salmon filet or Grouper company!

 

The Wine: “Churn” Chardonnay, California, 2014

What we Tasted: Pear, “Golden Delicious Apple,” “Butterscotch,” “Circus Peanut Candy,” Kiwi, “Canned pears,” “Garden with too many flowers,” “Del-Monte Fruit Cocktail,” “Orchard where the fruit is too old”

What we Guessed: German Riesling, California Chardonnay

What we Thought: Most of us really liked this new Chardonnay from the Treasure Hunter series. “A great porch sipper” said one taster, “I like it” said another. Although some tasters found the rich, spiced-apricot flavor unappealing. “I would drink it if I was out of everything else,” quipped one taster. A good reason to keep a well-stocked wine cellar!

 

The Wine: Decero Cabernet Sauvgnon, Mendoza, Argentina, 2013

What we Tasted: “Sweet berry goodness,” Cigar, Caramel, “Jammy Currants,” “Goji Berry,” “Dried Cherry,” “Alcohol,” “Luden’s Cherry Cough Drop,” Chocolate, Black Fruit, Smoke

What we Guessed: Spanish Temranillo, California Cabernet Franc, Barbera/Petite Syrah Blend, Sangiovese, Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot

What we Thought: This one was a big hit! When we dug our noses into this big, spicy red, we all guessed that this was the Treasure Hunter. It just tasted expensive to us. “Love it,” said one taster, “I want to drink this in front of a big fire,” said another. “This would be good with a roast lamb on a spit” commented another taster. The only negative comment was that the nose wasn’t great, although they said that “it tastes better than the nose.” Overall, this was a great cab for the price!

 

The Wine: Treasure Hunter “Side Piece” Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla, Washington, 2015

What we Tasted: “Berry fruit,” Licorice, Tobacco, Spicy, “Itchy,” “Alcohol,” Lavender, “Grape Popsicle,” Blueberry, Vanilla, “Unripe Persimmon,” “Peach Yoghurt”

What we Guessed: Argentine Malbec, California Zinfandel, California Pinot Noir, Syrah

What we Thought: When we finally tasted the Treasure Hunter wine, our group of tasters was definitely impressed, although we were thrown by the lighter style of this Washington State Cab. Comments were very good though; “I like it,” said one, “this would be awesome with a steak,” said another. “This has a nice long finish,” commented another, a former wine judge. Overall a good showing for this Treasure Hunter Cabernet.

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