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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!

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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