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!