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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!
Andy Hale has worked in the wine industry for over a decade, first as a server and later as a Sommelier for the 5-Star 5-Diamond rated Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island, located outside of Charleston, SC. After a brief stint as a wine rep, he now runs the education department at Metro Wines where he works to take the intimidation out of choosing the right bottle of wine. He is co-founder of the Asheville School of Wine and Asheville’s Blind Tasting League and teaches classes on wine for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute through UNC Asheville. He is a Certified Specialist of Wine and first level Sommelier.

His hobbies include eating and drinking (wine, beer, liquor or otherwise), hiking, snowboarding, and cooking with his wife, Christina and daughter Josephine. He is also an amateur bee-keeper and home-brewer. He is a native North Carolinian who attended Appalachian State University, before moving to Charleston to further his wine and food education. He loved the culinary scene in Charleston, but is very glad to be back in the mountains of Western North Carolina!

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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The Grapevine: Learning About Wine

The Grapevine: Learning About Wine

In case you missed it, there was a great article on blind tasting in the Laurel of Asheville magazine!  The author, our own Gina Trippi, sites blind tasting as the best way to learn to taste wine like a pro.

I agree. To me, learning to describe the complex flavors in our favorite wines is the main reason to blind taste, learning to guess the grape and place is secondary.

Check out the whole article here!

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Meet the "Treasure Hunter" at the next Blind Tasting League!

Meet the "Treasure Hunter" at the next Blind Tasting League!

Many of you that frequent Metro Wines have tried the wines from Hunter Vogel, the "hunter" from "Treasure Hunter" wines. They are a favorite of ours, and if you ask us for a $20 wine that drinks like a $60 one, odds are very good that we would suggest one of his.

There is a reason that Hunter's wines are so good. He buys leftover wine from some of the top producers in the world. Producers that are so famous that they can actually make more money by selling less wine because the increased demand drives the price of the wines up. Basically, Hunter is able to buy leftover wine from producers like Caymus and Silver Oak and sell them for pennies on the dollar. The only catch is, he can't tell us who he bought them from. But it is a lot of fun to guess!

If you want to meet Hunter, you will get a chance at the next Blind Tasting League. We will feature two wines from Hunter's collection, but of course, we won't know which ones are his until after we taste them. Hunter will also be on hand to talk about his wines.

Come out on April the 5th at 6:00 for a chance to taste some really great wines and to meet the producer himself! 

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March 1st Blind Tasting Results

 Another sold out Blind Tasting League, and a high-scoring one at that! 

The Wine: Woodlands Chardonnay, Wilyabrup Valley, Australia, 2014

What we Tasted: Tart Apple, banana, Tropical Fruit, Pear, lemongrass, Steel, “Stale Water,” Vanilla, “Lemon Curd,” Ginger, Chalk, “Funky Smell,” Lemon/Citrus, Floral

What we Guessed: US Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Argentine Pinot Grigio

What we Thought: For the most part, our panel enjoyed this wine. Comments ranged from “Strong, but not complex,” and  “relatively simple” to “Enjoyable.” Although one taster said it was “too tart,” most agreed that this Australian Chardonnay was a nice alternative to the more common California Chardonnays.

 

The Wine: Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand, 2016

What We Tasted: “Starburst Candy,” Smoky Apricot, “Bouquet of Flowers,” “Gooseberry,” banana, “Passion Fruit,” Grapefruit, “Fruity Minerals,” Mango, “Dragon Fruit,”

What we Guessed: While everyone guessed Sauvignon Blanc, we were divided about whether it was from New Zealand, Chile or California.

What we Thought: New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs can be a love it or hate it kind of thing, and our tasting panel was divided on this one. One taster shouted “Awesome!” after tasting it, while another scrunched up his nose and said “I don’t like it.” “Different” quipped another taster while another said it “needed food.” Regardless of whether they loved it or hated it, it was definitely a classic New Zealand style of Sauvignon Blanc.

 

The Wine: Pietralta Sangiovese, Chianti, Italy, 2015

What we Tasted: Black Cherry, “Truffles,” Cedar, “Sandalwood,” Black Pepper, Sour Cherry, “Wet Pavement,” Chalky, “Raspberry Taffy,” Spicy

What we Guessed: While one taster guessed Pinot Noir for this lighter than average Chianti, most of us were firmly in Italy. Nebbiolo was a common guess along with Barbera, while a few correctly guessed Sangiovese. I was sure this was Barbera.

What we Thought: Mostly we liked this lean and spicy Sangiovese. “I would like it with food,” said one taster, “So dry” said another at the high levels of acidity in the wine. Another mentioned that while she didn’t like the nose, it “smelled better than it tasted.” All in all, most of us agreed that it would happily keep pizza or bruschetta company!

 

The Wine: Sean Minor Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, California, 2014

What We Tasted: “Rubbing Alcohol,” Cherries, Honey, Nutmeg, “Pickle Juice,” Licorice, “Dried Fruit”, Molasses, “Minty,” “Dr. Pepper”

What we Guessed:  While almost all of us guessed new world and most of us guessed California specifically, we couldn’t agree on the varietal. Zinfandel was a popular guess, along with Merlot. There were a few guesses for Australian Shiraz and even a Grenache from Spain. No one actually guessed Cabernet on this soft, fruity wine.

What we Thought: Despite no one recognizing it as Cabernet, it was very popular with our group! “I would drink it while watching a movie” said one taster, “Likeable enough” said another and another said they liked it “better than the other one.” Although we had a few grumbles about the wine being overly soft and “like drinking felt” most enjoyed the wine. One taster said that it “tastes better the more of it you drink.” Don’t they all!

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February 1st Blind Tasting Results

Another great night of Blind Tasting, and I was on fire! I got 2 completely right and even though I was technically wrong on the last one, I'm still giving myself credit for it anyway. More on that later...

The Wine:  Perles de Sauvignon Blanc, South of France, 2015

What we Tasted: Pear, Grapefruit, Pineapple, “Gunflint,” “Grassy,” Pepper, Stone, “Butter,” “Lemon Drop Candy,” Hay

What we Guessed: Loire Valley Chenin Blanc, Italian Pinot Grigio, French or German Sauvignon Blanc

What we Thought: A rather lukewarm reaction to this wine. No one had a very strong reaction to this one, good or bad. “ I kinda like it” said one taster, “It’s drinkable” said another. One taster mentioned that “It grows on you”. Don’t they all?

 

The Wine: Moutard-Diligent Chardonnay, Burgundy, France, 2013

What we Tasted: Flowers, Green-Apple, “Musty-funky,” Grapefruit, “Socks,” Lemon Zest, “Box of Mushrooms,” “Curdled Cream,” “Cleaning Product,” Mineral, “Used Athletic Shoes”

What we Guessed: Italian  or French Pinot Grigio, White Burgundy

What we Thought: Despite the less than favorable sounding tasting notes, we actually liked this one! “I like it better than the last one” said one taster, “Me too” said another. “It needs food” mentioned one, and another said it was “different.” Different can be good, right? Anyway, it was a great example of a Northern Burgundy Chardonnay which most definitely needs food!

 

The Wine: Cune Crianza Tempranillo, Rioja, Spain, 2013

What we Tasted: Pepper, “Fennel,” Strawberry, Cherry, Chocolate, Smoke, Cinnamon

What we Guessed: Sardinian Grenache, California Merlot, Italian Sangiovese, Syrah, Italian Cab, Modern Styled Rioja. In full honesty, whenever I find myself completely unable to guess the grape or even whether it is Old World or New World, it is always Spanish Tempranillo. I guessed Rioja here because I was totally clueless.

What we Thought: This was probably the most popular wine of the night! Everybody had something nice to say about this superbly balanced red. “good with food or on its own” said one taster, “Crowd pleaser” said another. Although one of our group said it was “not for me,” it was a pretty big hit with our panel.

 

The Wine: Meiomi Pinot Noir, Monterey, Sonoma, Santa Barbara Counties, California, 2015

What we Tasted: Pepper, “Diesel Fuel,” Black Cherry, “Lawnmower Tire,” “Cedar Cigar Box,” “Jam,” “Gun Oil,” “Tree Bark,” Tobacco, “Anchovy Paste,” Violets, “Teriyaki flavored Beef Jerky”

What we Guessed: Australian Shiraz, California Zinfandel, Sangiovese, California Cabernet, South African Shiraz

What we Thought: Another very popular wine with our tasters, although nobody guessed that it was Pinot Noir. In truth, I didn’t think it tasted much like Pinot Noir at all, big and rich, with a smoky, jammy, meaty flavor. Rumor has it that Meiomi is blending in as much Syrah as they legally can without having to call it a red blend. In California, that’s 25%! That’s why I gave every one who guessed Syrah credit for this one!

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January 4th Blind Tasting Results

It was another busy night at the Blind Tasting League, with a huge turnout! Wine was flowing, opinions and guesses were flying, and not a blindfold in sight. Read on to see what we guessed.

The WIne: Reserve des Vignerons Chenin Blanc, Saumur, France, 2015

What we tasted: Grapefruit, Kiwi, bell pepper, "Musk", Slate, Pineapple, Jalapeno, Asparagus, Pineapple

What we Guessed: Dry German Riesling, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc. Most everyone guessed Sauvignon Blanc, although we were divided between New Zealand and Loire Valley.

What we thought: This wine got a cool response from our tasting panel. "Ok" said one taster, "Needs food" said another. Another taster said she "would drink it, but wouldn't reorder it". Still not a bad showing for a very affordable wine that definitely does need food with it!

The Wine: Rock Wall Sauvignon Blanc, Lake County, California, 2014

What we tasted: melon, Pear, "chalky", "Sweet Cream", "grapefruit Peel", Wet Stone, "Granny Smith Apple", Almond, "Fennel" Peach, Pineapple, "Febreezey", "over-ripe canteloupe"

What we Guessed: West Coast Chardonnay, oregon Pinot Gris, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

What we Thought: This one was a hit with our crowd. It had a great nose that we enjoyed. "Nice" said one taster, "Good with or without food" said another.  Overall a good showing.

The Wine: Famille Amirault grosbois Cabernet Franc, Saint Nicholas de Bourgueil, France, 2013

What we tasted: "Basement", "Paint", "Ether", Cranberry, Pepper, Tar, Leather, barnyard, "Rose Petals", Olives, "Undergrowth", French Oak, Goji berry.

What we Guessed: French Gamay, Sangiovese, US cabernet Franc, Nebbiolo, barbera

What we Thought: We were really divided on this one, our tasters either loved it or hated it. "Awful" said one taster, "Vinegary" said another.  One conceded that "it would taste better with food" and another eventually mentioned that "it grows on you". I really enjoyed this wine, although it definitely needs food and you need to like acidic, earthy wines to appreciate this one.

the Wine: Woop Woop Shiraz, South Eastern Australia, 2014

What we Tasted: "Asian Food", Butter, Tobacco, "nutty", Pepper, "Cornichon Pickles", Dark Berries, "New leather in a car", "Lit Cigar", Black Cherry

What we Guessed: Washington State Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Syrah/Shiraz, Merlot, "Low quality Tempranillo"

What we Thought: We mostly liked this one. "Smells good" said one taster, another said they "like it a lot". A few others were on the fence about it. One said that it was just "ok" and another said that it "starts smooth, but finishes harsh". It definitely didn't remind me of the typical jammy, Aussie Shiraz.

 

 

 

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December 7th Blind Tasting Results

Another great night with some very enjoyable wines that really stumped our panel!

The Wine: La Viarte Pinot Grigio, Friuli, Italy, 2015

What we tasted: Grapefruit, Lemongrass, Slate, "Circus Peanuts Candy," Petunias, Green Bell Pepper, Pineapple, Celery, Pear and Asparagus

What we Guessed: Washington State Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Loire Valley Chenin Blanc

What we Thought: This one stumped us all. I usually think of Pinot Grigio as the "lightbeer of the wine world" and this one threw everyone off with its crisp minerality and intense acidity. Most of us really enjoyed it. "I like it but not a long finish" said one, "this would be a great wine to begin with" said another. One taster suggested serving it with oysters. We were all very impressed with this wine although no one guessed that it was Pinot Grigio.

The Wine: Bacchus Chardonnay, California, 2014

What we Tasted: "Fruity-floral", apricots, "Dryer Sheet", Passion Fruit, "Marshmallows", "Vick's Vapo-Rub", Roses, "Orange blossom-Honey"

What we Guessed: Alsatian Gewurztraminer, Southern French Viognier, California Chardonnay

What we Thought: We were stumped by this one as well. Only one taster guessed Chardonnay. This wine has an impressive, if somewhat un-Chardonnay like nose to it. As one taster commented, "Profoundly aromatic".  While we loved the nose, quality wise we were divided on this one. While some said they "Liked it" and one said "it would pair with Shrimp Scampi", others liked it less. One said it wasn't her "fave", and another said it "would give her a headache" if she drank too much of it. Overall, not a bad showing for an affordable Chardonnay.

 

The Wine: Flor de Montgo Tempranillo, Tierra de la Castilla, Spain, 2013

What we Tasted:  Paint Thinner, Black Currant, Black Cherry, Twizzlers, "Good Spicy oak", Dark plum, Prunes, "Horse Blanket", Portobello Mushroom, "Clay", "Wet Brick"

What we Guessed: Paso Robles Zinfandel, Lodi Zinfandel, California Cabernet Sauvignon, California Pinot Noir, Spanish Tempranillo.

What we Thought: We really enjoyed this one, but we only had one person guess this as Tempranillo. We mostly thought this was a new world wine. This wine had a really great nose for such an affordable bottle, but it was much bigger and fruitier than what we expected from Spanish Tempranillo. One taster commented that it would work well with a big steak.

The Wine: Catena Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza, Argentina, 2011

What we Tasted: "Tanned Leather", "Cigar Smoke", Black Cherry, Wood Dust, Tobacco, Vanilla, Sour Cherry

What we Guessed: Italian Sangiovese, California Pinot Noir, Piemontese Barbera

What we Thought: While we enjoyed this one, most of us were on the wrong continent on this one. Almost everyone thought this was Italian, I'm blaming the age of the wine and the famously cool and damp 2011 Vintage for that. While we were surprised to see that it was an Argentine Cabernet, we generally enjoyed it. "Good stuff" was one comment, "I like it" said another taster. One taster commented that it needed "a hunk of prime rib." Definitely not the flavors I typically associate with New World Cabernet, but an enjoyable wine nonetheless!

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November 2nd Blind Tasting Results

Another great round of Blind Tasting fun! Almost all of us got the first two right and almost all of us missed the last two. In case you missed it, here are our guesses and tasting notes.

 

The Wine: Le Grand St. Vincent Sauvignon Blanc, Touraine, Loire Valley, France, 2015

What we Tasted: "Big, huge grapefruit", "Green Peas", Lychee, Tropical Fruits, Grassy, "steeliness", Stone, "Sour Patch Kids Candy", "Smells like and old washcloth" (He had a cold).

What we Guessed: Everyone guessed Sauvignon Blanc on this one. We disagreed on where it was from though. Most thought it was from New Zealand due to the grapefruity nose it showed, although a few guessed France correctly.

What we Thought: Most everyone enjoyed this wine, although some said that it "needs food" or needed a "Piece of fish" to go with it. While it certainly would go well with seafood, one said that it would be "good on a hot day" and would be good all on its own.

 

The Wine: Thomas Henry Chardonnay, Sonoma County, California, 2015

What we Tasted: Pear, "Very ripe apple", "Butterscotch", "more loamy than red Georgia clay earth", "Cinnamon/clove", "Funky fungal", "apple pie/baked apple", "Bamboo rocks", "Rome or winesap apples"

What we Guessed:  Everybody guessed Chardonnay as soon as we smelled the oak but we differed on where it was from. Most of us thought it was from California, but a few didn't think it was oakey enough. They thought it was from South America.

What we Thought: Our tasting crowd mostly liked this one, although one confessed to not being "into oaked wines". One taster said they "like it", another said it was "ok" and another still said it was just "drinkable".

 

The Wine: Domaine Dupeuble Gamay, Beaujolais, FRance, 2015

What we Tasted: Cherry, Cranberry, "off brand Twizzler", "Blackberry Tart", "Sour Cherry Pie", roses, "Pink Peppercorns", "Cherry Cough Syrup", "Wax Lips", "Assorted Nerds Candy"

What we Guessed: Syrah, South African Pinot Noir, Tuscan Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, "Cheap pinot Noir", Nebbiolo

What we Thought: Our tasters were split on this one.  "I don't like it" said one taster, "It would be better with food" said another, "I really like it" said another. A few said it was "ok" and "meh" said another. After some tasting, most of us agreed that it was a pretty good Pinot Noir Substitute.

The Wine: Santa Carolina Pinot Noir Reserva, Chile, 2015

What we Tasted: "a little stinky," "Oysters", "Seaweed", "Beet Juice", "Smoky bacon fat", "Hoisin/Soy Sauce", "Mucky soil", "Black Tea", "Wet Tree Bark", Leather & Dust.

What we Guessed: Tempranillo, "Something Spanish", South African Cabernet Franc.

What we Thought: Most of us enjoyed this one as well, although a few of us thought it tasted a little "strange". This smoky, Chilean Pinot had some very interesting flavors that didn't make anyone immediately guess Pinot Noir. "I like it" said one taster. "It would be perfect with dark chocolate" said another. We all agreed that it was a pretty solid wine for the price, although one commented that they "wouldn't buy a case" of it.

 

 

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October 5th Blind Tasting Results

It was another fun, high-energy tasting and our panel really brought their taste buds! It was a high scoring game with a lot of correct guesses throughout the evening. It was also a personal best for me, getting 3 out of 4 right! Sorry for the bragging, I'm usually proud of myself if I get 1 or 2 right.

Here are the notes from our October session.

The Wine: Pierre Sparr Riesling, Alsace, France, 2014

What we tasted: Pear, Melon, Pineapple, "Elderflower", Concrete, "Beach-Ball", Honeysuckle, "Hint of lemon and stale water", Honeydew melon, Apple and "Way Citrus"

What We Guessed: New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris/Grigio, Alsatian Riesling

What we Thought: One of my favorite wines, but not as popular with our tasting panel. "Not my fav" said one taster, "A little sour" said another. One mentioned that it might taste better "with some food". Despite all of the mediocre reviews, there were several tasters who later said that this was their favorite of the night!

The Wine: Indaba Sauvignon Blanc, Western Cape, South Africa, 2015

What we tasted: "Looks like City-Water", Floral, Pear, Meyer Lemon, Faint Honey, "Gin", Juniper, Metallic, Ash, Pepper

What we Guessed: Italian Pinot Grigio, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Calufornia Viognier, Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc

What we Thought: The jury was split on this little South African gem. "I like that" one taster said, another mentioned that she liked it "the more I taste it." Another commented that they didn't "love it." Overall most agreed that it was pretty good for a bargain priced Sauvignon Blanc.

The Wine: Mud House Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand, 2013

What we Tasted: "Peppery, sour-cherry," Mineral, Fig, "Stewed Cherry," Chalky, "Maple Syrup," "Something warm and sweet," Leather

What we Guessed: Young Bordeaux, "Old, poor-quality gamay", German Pinot Noir, Italian Barbera, Grenache, Cabernet Franc, California Pinot Noir

What we Thought: This one wasn't as big of a hit with our crew as the others. One taster said it tasted "watered down." "Too short in the finish" complained another. Another said "I liked it at first but it offends me the more I taste it." There were a few who said that they "Liked it ok," but most of the comments on this one were negative. It's hard to make good Pinot Noir under $15.

The Wine: Artadi Tempranillo, Rioja, Spain, 2014

What we Tasted: Cassis, Violets, Star Anise, "Grape Bubble-Gum," "Welch's Grape Juice," "Somthing Burned," Mint, "Nerds Candy"

What we Guessed: Grenache, Tempranillo, Australian Shiraz, Argentine Malbec.

What we Thought: Our Tasting Panel was divided on this one as well. Some tasters really liked it, while others hated it. "I"m gonna drink it, but I don't care for it" was one comment, while another said that it "tastes better the more I drink of it." Don't they all! While some tasters dumped this one out, others said it was one of their favorites in the lineup. This is a great example of how different all of our taste buds are. value your own opinion and never let wine experts tell you what you should be drinking!

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September 7th Blind Tasting Results

Another high-energy tasting with home high scores and some low ones. I only got one right, but I got it exactly right! That should count at least double, right?

The Wine: Romanin Macon Villages CHardonnay, Burgundy, France, 2013

What we Tasted: Grapefruit, Green apple, Toasted Marshmallow, "Rotten Pineapple", Asparagus, Almond, "Sulfury-Honeysuckle", Pear, Granite, "Funky-Fungal", Tart Lemon.

What we Guessed: Italian Pinot Grigio, South African Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Loire Valley Chenin Blanc.

What we Thought: I was surprised by the earthiness of this wine. The Burgundian minerality was apparent in retrospect, but when I was tasting it I was thinking Spanish Grenache Blanc. Not an incredibly popular wine with our tasters, but some did like it. Everyone agreed that it might perform better with some food, but it really wasn't a porch sipper.

The Wine: Valckenburg Gewurztraminer, Pfalz, Germany, 2014

What we Tasted: Floral, Spicy, Sandy, Eucalyptus, Lychee, "Dial Soap", Perfume, Gardenia, "Musky Melon-y Honey".

What we Guessed: French Viognier, German Gewurztraminer, Pinot Grigio, German Riesling.

What we Thought: This one was more popular with our tasting crowd, although some said it was "too sweet". Most thought this aromatic wine would be "good with fruit and cheese" although another suggested it "would have to be paired with food". I personally enjoyed the perfumey nose on this wine and thought it would be great with Asian cuisine.

The Wine: Rickshaw Pinot Noir, California, 2014

What we Tasted: Cherry, Smoke, "Toasted Oak", Coffee, Blackberry, Mushrooms, Black Pepper, Tobacco, Cigar-Box, Wet Leaves, "Birch Bark", and "Figgy".

What we Guessed: California Pinot Noir, Piedmont Barbera, Syrah, Zinfandel, French Pinot Noir, and Oregon Pinot Noir.

What we Thought: This wine was very much enjoyed by our tasting panel! "It's easy to drink" said one taster, "We like it" said another group. One taster suggested it would be enjoyable "with or without food". In a time when it is getting challenging to find a good Pinot Noir under $20, we all agreed that this was an enjoyable Pinot Noir for $14.99.

The Wine: Shooting Star Zinfandel, mendocino County, California, 2012

What we Tasted: Minty, "Toothpaste", Eucalyptus, Hay, "Vicks VapoRub", Black Olives, "Strawberry Jelly", Violet, Clay, "Pine-Oil", and "Wet Cardboard".

What we Guessed: California Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Australian Shiraz, Red Meritage, nebbiolo.

What we Thought: This one was a little more controversial. Some of our tasters enjoyed the fruity, minty flavor, while others complained about the aftertaste. One taster complained that the wine "finished like peanut Butter", another said that it was "not a sipping wine" and suggested that it would need food to go along with it. One taster said she enjoyed it, but that it would have to be the "third bottle" consumed in a night. Like it or not, everyone agreed that it had a very "distinctive aroma", with an enjoyable minty smell to go along with the fruit. 

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BTL on AVL Food Fans Podcast

BTL on AVL Food Fans Podcast

That's right blind tasters, your Asheville Blind Tasting League was mentioned on AVL Food Fans Podcast with food critic Stu Helm and Chef Joe Scully!

You see, the Blind Tasting League will be at the Asheville Wine & Food Festival again this year, and AWFF director Kris Kraft was telling Stu and Joe all about the fun things that will be happening.

Our shout out happens around the 36 minute mark for those of you that like to fast forward, but the whole episode is worth a listen if you love local food and wine like I do.

If you are planning on attending the Festival's Grand tasting on August 20th, we will begin blind tasting at 2:30 in the upper mezzanine. just follow the signs.

If you can't make it to the Festival, our next Blind Tasting League will be September 7th at 6:00pm.

Until next time, happy blind tasting!

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August 3rd Blind Tasting Results

This weeks Blind tasting League could have been themed grapes you know from places that you don't expect to see them. Very interesting stuff, but not a high scoring game! One person said they had "never had so much fun being so wrong". I felt the same way. This was definitely a challenge for our senses!

The Wine: Ca Mara Chardonnay, Lombardy, Italy, 2014

What we Tasted: Lemon, peach, Apricot, Grapefruit, White Flowers, Grassy/herbal, "Juicy Fruit Gum", Chalky, Crisp Slate, "Honeysuckle Juice", "Sour Patch Kids", Lemongrass & Jasmine.

What we Guessed: German Riesling, Italian Pinot Grigio, Viognier, California Sauvignon Blanc and New World Chenin Blanc.

What we Thought: This one was a hit with our tasters, although no one guessed Chardonnay. "This would be a good porch wine" said one and another mentioned that it "would be good with Chinese food". Everyone agreed it was a good wine for the hot summer months, although no one thought it tasted like Chardonnay. For some of our tasters, that was a good thing.

The Wine: Las Bas Gewurztraminer, Somontano, Spain, 2014

What we Tasted: Orange Blossom, Tropical Fruit, Honey, "Bellini", Honeydew Melon, "under my Peach Tree", Jalapeno, "Straight up Peach Juice"

What we Guessed: California Chardonnay, Southern-French Viognier, Pinot Grigio, California Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc.

What we Thought: I think everyone enjoyed this classically German grape grown in Spain. The nose was very aromatic and we all enjoyed describing the flavors we experienced. "I could drink this on the porch" one taster said, "I like it" said another. One said "it needs food", but I thought it would work well alone or with food, especially spicy Asian cuisine.

The Wine: Biltmore Cabernet Franc Reserve, Asheville, North Carolina, 2014

What we Tasted: Black Cherry, Blackberry, Blueberry, Plum, Prunes, Vanilla, "Smoked Meat", Tobacco, "Cherry Nibs", "Cocoa Powder" and spice.

What we Guessed: New World merlot, "Fruity Rioja", Cabernet, Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir.

What we Thought: This one was a big hit with our tasting crew, most of which claimed they didn't like Biltmore wines! Everyone was shocked when this wine was unveiled, you would have thought that they had just given high marks to Thunderbird! We disagreed about what it was and where it was from, but it was hard to deny that we were drinking a high quality wine.

The Wine: Skyfall Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Washington State, 2014

What we Tasted: Bright Cherry, Plum, "Jammy", "Dried Flowers", Plastic, "Burnt Toast", "Varnish", "potting Soil", Licorice, Vinegar, "Artificial Sweetener".

What we Guessed: Southern Rhone Blend, "Not so good Rioja", California Cab, Aussie Shiraz, Zinfandel, Cheapo Argentine Malbec

What we Thought: This wine was controversial, people liked this one or they didn't, but they felt strongly about it either way! While some enjoyed the rich, plummy flavor, others complained about artificial-tasting flavors. It's all there in our tasting notes. I have to admit, it wasn't my favorite either.

 

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July 6th Blind Tasting Results

The Wine: Pierre Sparr Riesling, Alsace, France, 2013

What we Tasted: Green Apple, Pineapple, Minerals, Diesel Fuel, Lemon, Wet Stones, "New Tennis Shoe", Grassy/Herbal, "Deflated Pool Toy"

What we Guessed: Italian Pinot Gris, Chenin Blanc, South American Sauvignon Blanc, Alsatian Riesling

What we Thought: After our tasters finished making sour faces from the high levels of acidity in this wine, most agreed that it was a pretty enjoyable wine. I had a lot of comments about drinking it outside. "Good for hanging out on the deck" said one taster, "A good porch wine" said another and another said it was "easy drinking". A few tasters mentioned that the finish was rather short and didn't "stick around". Everyone was surprised by how dry this wine was!

The Wine: Triennes "Sainte Fleur" Viognier, Provence, France, 2014

What we Tasted: Passion Fruit, Pear, Honey, Peach, "Model Airplane Glue", Gum, "White Gummy Bear", Chalky, "Orange Blossom", Creamy, Smoke, "Lapsang Souchong Tea" and Hay.

What we Guessed: American Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Vinho Verde, French Chardonnay, French Viognier

What we Thought: This one really woke up our taste buds! The flavors in this wine were very different and interesting, prompting one taster to comment that it was "Complex" and another to say that it was "Weird". Although it was a hard one to guess correctly, most of us really enjoyed drinking it.

The Wine:  Altaroses Granatxa, Montsant, Spain, 2014

What we tasted: "Light Ripe Cherry", Plum, Currant, raspberry, "Black Cherry Jell-o", Black pepper, Blackberry, Green Pepper.

What we Guessed: Sangiovese Blend, Merlot, Barbera, "Low-cost Nebbiolo", Northern Italian Cabernet Franc, New World Grenache.

What we Thought: Our tasting panel was divided on this on this wine. We mostly either loved it or hated it. Comments on this one ranged from "I wouldn't pay more than $12 for this" to "very Nice". Most of us really enjoyed it and thought it would be a very versatile food pairing wine. This wine was passed around a lot and had it's photo taken many, many times.

The Wine: House of Independent Producers Merlot, Columbia Valley, Washington State, 2012

What we Tasted: Pepper, "Dirty-fruit", Cranberry, Strawberry, Currants, Baked flavors, "Merlot-ish".

What we Guessed: California Zinfandel, Merlot, Spanish Tempranillo, and "something Spanish".

What we Thought: This one got a less extreme reaction from our panel than the last one. While most everyone thought it was enjoyable, fewer tasters said that they loved it or hated it. Most everyone just thought it was good. "I like it ok" said one taster, "It would be good with food"" said another. One admitted Merlot-hater was shocked to realize that he had enjoyed this wine! That's why Blind Tasting is so much fun. It's all about the wine. No prejudices or preconceived opinions about grape varietals, wine regions or producers.

 

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June 1st Blind Tasting Results

 

The Wine: Bocelli Pinot Grigio, Veneto, Italy, 2014

What we Tasted: Stone Fruit, "Unripe Pear", "Fruity Dishwater", Mineral, "WD-40", "Jet Fuel", Citrus, Grapefruit, Honeysuckle, "Cinderblock", & Apple

What we Guessed: French Chenin Blanc, North Eastern Italian Pinot Grigio

What we Thought: We mostly liked this one although a few of our tasters thought it was more mediocre. "meh" said one taster, "Not my style" said another and another taster just shrugged. Most of us enjoyed the mild flavor although one taster said it would "depend on what I had to eat with it".

 

The Wine: Le Grand St-Vincent Sauvignon Blanc, Touraine, France, 2015

What we Tasted: "Cat-Pee", varnish, gardenia, lemon/lime, Grapefruit, Floral, Pineapple, Gravel, Thyme, flint, & Asparagus

What we Guessed:  Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc (We nailed it!)

What we Thought: This one started off bad and then grew on our tasting panel. The very first comments were about it smelling like cat pee, but after that our tasters reported more mineral and herbal flavors. Comments included "I Like it now, I didn't at first", "Better than the first" and "I'll bet it would be good with trout" although one taster reported that he "couldn't get out of the litterbox". To me it was a great alternative to pricey Sancerre!

 

The Wine: Saint Evasio Barbera, Piedmont, Italy, 2014

What we Tasted: Cherry, barnyard, Earthy, Raspberry, Vanilla, Smoked Meats, "Wet Granite", "Chicken coop", Rosemary & "Wet Earth"

What we Guessed: French Syrah, Languedoc Pinot Noir, Rhone Blend, Italian Barbera and Tuscan Sangiovese

What we Thought: this one was pretty popular with our team. Most everyone enjoyed the flavor, especially for a wine that retails around $11! There were a few tasters who said it "Needs food" and another  who even said it "Needs meat". Definitely a food wine, but a pretty good Pinot Noir alternative for the price.

 

The Wine: Cune Tempranillo, Rioja, Spain, 2012

What we tasted: Wood, Tobacco, Flowers, Black Cherry, Vanilla, Black Currant, Blueberry, Plum, & "good dirt"

What we Guessed: Spanish tempranillo (Seriously, everybody got this one right! The only thing we couldn't agree on was whether it was from Rioja or Ribero del Duero)

What we Thought: This one was a popular one with our crew. "very mild" said one taster, "Love this one" said another, yet another taster said it had "No bite" and was "smooth". One taster declared that she wanted "a bathroom spray" that smelled like this wine. Pretty high praise, I guess?

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May 4th Blind Tasting Results

The Wine: Ponga Sauvignon Blanc, marlborough, New Zealand, 2015

What we Tasted: Grapefruit, Pineapple, Pear, Cat-Pee, Hyacinth, Herbal, Stone, Citrusy, Soury-Appley, and Honeysuckle

What we Guessed: We all guessed that it was Sauvignon Blanc, although we couldn't agree where it was from. We guessed that it was from South Africa, New Zealand and the United States.

What we Thought: Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand can be a little divisive and our tasting panel loved it or hated it. There were lots of comments like "This is more your style, not mine" although others said "This is definitely my style!". Overall, a good, classic New Zealand style Sauvignon Blanc for $10.99!

The WIne: 10 Span Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County, California, 2013

What we Tasted: Stony, "very floral" Hibiscus, Honeysuckle, Subtle Spice, Cedar Plank, "Hamster Cage", Butter, Alcohol and "Burnt Sugar".

What we Guessed: California Chardonnay, French Chenin Blanc, Riesling, California Gewurz, Pinot Grigio

What we Thought: Our tasting panel was divided about whether they liked it better or worse than the last one. Some liked it "more than #1" and some said "not as much as #1". One taster mentioned it would make a "good cocktail wine" and one mentioned it would be "good with waffles". After that we staged a quick intervention.

The Wine: Les freres Perroud "Amethyste", Brouilly, Beaujolais, 2011

What we tasted: Dark Cherries, Pepper, Raspberry, "All the Berries", tar, Jammy, and "Fruit Snacks"

What we Guessed: This was the biggest, boldest Beaujolais I have ever tried! Most of us thought it was a new world wine. We guessed Zinfandel, Argentine malbec, Pinot Noir and Petite Syrah.

What we Thought: Our panel was divided. "I don't like it" one taster said, "might be ok with Spaghetti" quipped another. I was personally blown away by this one! It was definitely my favorite of the night and one of the best Beaujolais' I have ever had! Maybe It's a wine-geek wine and not so much of a crowd pleaser.

The Wine: "The Velvet Devil" Merlot, Washington State, 2014

What we tasted: Marachino Cherries, Black-Fruit, "Barnyard", Leather, "Grape Flintstone Vitamins", "A whiff of Ben-gay", vanilla and "Blueberry flavored Sharpie-marker"

What we Guessed: Shiraz, malbec, Cabernet/Merlot Blend, tempranillo, and "something cheap"

What we Thought: The fun thing about wine is that everyone has different tastes. What tastes good to me might not taste good to you. Like the other wines we tasted, we had lovers of this wine and haters. "I like it" said one taster, "Rich and good" said another and another declared it the "best in the show". Others liked it less. One taster guessed that it was "Franzia", another asked if "it had been left in the trunk of a car", another called it "varietally indistinct" and accused it of being "manipulated". I guess one person's Petrus is someone else's Franzia.

 

 

 

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April 6th Blind Tasting Results

The Wine: Sean Minor Sauvignon Blanc, California, 2014

What we Tasted: Pear, Apricot, Honeydew, Red Apple, Honey, White Flowers

What we Guessed: S. American Torrontes, American Pinot Gris, European Chenin Blanc, & S. African Chenin Blanc

What we Thought: Our panel enjoyed it, but wasn’t in love with it. “I think it’s pretty clean” said one taster, another said it wasn’t “too sharp” meaning it wasn’t too acidic. I think this summed up our opinions, “It’s likeable enough. Like Obama said about Hillary.” Wow. Just wow!

The Wine: Cono Sur Bicicleta Chardonnay, Chile, 2015

What we Tasted: Flowery minerality, “Marshmallow Fluff”, Guava, Burnt-Sugar, a Little Oak, Honeydew Melon & Honey

What we Guessed: French Viognier, Chardonnay Blend, & California Chardonnay

What we Thought: Our panel was strongly divided on this one, they loved it or hated it. Some of the comments were “Nice Nose”, “More pleasant than the last” and one commented that it would be “great for a garden party”. A few others dissented. “I’m not big on it” one said, another didn’t “like the finish”, and one simply said “Meh”.

The Wine: Araucano Carmenere, Colchagua Valley, Chile, 2013

What we Tasted: Black Cherry, Vanilla, Red Berry, “Cherry Cough Syrup”, “Fruity Deal”, Pepper & Bacon

What we Guessed: California Zinfandel & Australian Shiraz

What we Thought: This one was a big hit with our group, many thought it was the best in the lineup. The big fruit prompted one to comment that it was “Definitely American”. No one successfully guessed that it was Carmenere (but that’s a really tough one), although everyone enjoyed tasting it!

The Wine: Grayson Cellars Zinfandel, California, 2014

What we Tasted: Strawberry, “Wet Tree Bark”, “Garden Shed”, Orange Peel, Dried Fruit, Dried Cranberries, “Cinnamon Red Hots” and “Blackberry Cotton Candy”

What we Guessed: German Pinot Noir, Gamay Beaujolais, Grenache, Cotes du Rhone blend

What we Thought: This one also was controversial with our panel. Some of the comments were “I’m not big on it” and “Not very good”, although there were also those who said “I like it”, called it “Aromatic” and it was the best in show for two of our tasters! Most everyone thought it was pretty good for a wine under $12.

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March 2nd Blind Tasting Results

 

The Wine: Bodega Gratia Sauvignon Blanc, Valle De Uco,  Argentina, 2013

What we tasted: Apple, Honeysuckle, Unripe Pear, Wet Slate, Citrus and Granite

What we Guessed: South American Sauvignon Blanc, Loire Valley Chenin Blanc, Northern Italian Pinot Grigio, Viognier, Riesling

What we Thought: This was a popular wine with our tasting panel. Most everyone agreed that it was a very enjoyable wine and would probably pair very well with seafood.

The Wine: Novellum Chardonnay, Pays D'Oc, France, 2014

What we tasted: "Juicy Fruit Gum", Vanilla, peachy, over-ripe melon, Dial Soap, Allspice, White Pepper and "Fake Flowers"

What we Guessed: Alsatian Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Viognier, Chardonnay/Semillon Blend

What we Thought: Another popular wine! The nose on it was incredible! Apparently, the wine was aged on Viognier Lees, giving it a very complex, spicy flavor which I loved, but only one of us guessed it was Chardonnay.

The Wine: Calcu Cabernet Franc, Colchagua Valley, Chile, 2012

What we Tasted: Black Cherry, "Chocolate covered strawberries", Vanilla, Raspberry, Spice, Nutmeg, and Herbaceous

What we Guessed: French Syrah, Italian Nebbiolo, Grenache/Syrah, S. American Cabernet Sauvignon

What we Thought: Again, our panel really enjoyed this one. I, personally, enjoyed the tannic bite, while others enjoyed the "velvety" flavor of the wine. Definitely one of the biggest Cabernet Francs I have ever tried and a fantastic value!

The Wine: Punto Final Malbec, Argentina, 2014

What we Tasted: Diesel Fuel, Cinnamon & Spice, Clove, "Blackberry Pie", Iodine, Cement, Ammonia and Pepper

What We Guessed: Zinfandel, Syrah/Shiraz, Sangiovese and "Cheap-Merlot"

What we Thought: Not a popular one with our tasting panel. "Unbalanced", "Finishes like Hairspray" and "Good if it was $4". One taster noted that it smelled like "Blackberry Pie", but after tasting it changed it to "Canned Blackberry Pie Filling". We also had a hard time guessing what we were drinking, we thought it was a little "Varietally Indestinct".

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