What an amazing way to go out, a sold out Blind Tasting League! We completely filled the space and popped open some really terrific wines. And as an added bonus, I actually got them all right for the first time! My last blind tasting and I'm just now starting to get good at it...
The Wine: Montinore Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon, 2015
What we Tasted: Cantelope, mango, Apricot, Wet Stone, Apple, Petrol, Spice, Lemon and Green Apple
What we Guessed: French Sauvignon Blanc, California Pinot gris, South American Sauvignon BLanc, French Chenin Blanc, French Pinot Gris, Austrian Gewurztraminer, Oregon Pinot Gris
What we thought: This one received a cool reception from our tasting panel. Comments were "ok," "It would do in a pinch," and "needs to be really cold." One taster mentioned that the alcohol was very noticeable, saying that it was "too hot." I enjoyed it, however.
The Wine: Immich-Batterieberg Riesling, Mosel Valley, Germany, 2014
What we Tasted: "Smells like a Perm," Ripe Pear, "Grandparents Basement," Apricot, "Beach Ball," White flowers, "Toasted Marshmallow," Slate, "undergrowth," "banana leaf"
What we Guessed: South African Chenin Blanc, German Riesling
What we Thought: This dry Riesling was also not the favorite of our tasting panel. "gotta be Old-World" said one taster after taking a searingly acidic sip. "No Personality whatsoever" said another taster. I personally found it enjoyable (I adore Riesling) if a little simple and straightforward.
The Wine: Santavenere Vino Nobile de Montepulciano, Tuscany, Italy, 2013
What we Tasted: Tobacco, Chocolate, Vanilla, Mulling Spices, "Deep dark Cherry," Mushroom, "Spicy nuts," Oregano, Cedar, "Red-Hot Candy," & "Licorice"
What we Guessed: "Strange Barbera," Nero D'Avola, Italian Nebbiolo, Tuscan Sangiovese
What we Thought: We really liked this one! It walked a very nice line between earthy and fruity and was very enjoyable to drink in my opinion. I think all of our panel would agree with me also. "Pleasant wine all around" was one comment. "This wine would go great with pizza" was another. After that, we were all hungry for some pizza!
The Wine: Paul Jaboulet Aine, Crozes Hermitage, Rhone Valley, France, 2015
What we Tasted: "Toasted Marshmallow," Black Cherry, Raspberry, "Lays Potato Chips," Coffee, Dill, Pomegranate, Red currant, Bacon, Vanilla, "Good Stuff"
What we Guessed: California Cabernet Franc, French Syrah, California Barbera, California Merlot
What we Thought: This wine had our panel divided. "Like Obama said about Hillary, it's nice enough" said one taster. "this would be good with some food" said another. Others didn't like it as much. "Thumbs down" said one taster. Another said it had the "worst qualities of the new world and the old world.
Well that's all for me folks. This will likely be my last post for a while. I'm following my wife to Nashville, but my family lives in Asheville, so I may be back from time to time. With any luck, our paths will cross again. Until the next time, keep blind tasting! Andy Hale out.
I have bad news everybody. It hurts me to say it, it honestly does.
I am moving out of Asheville.
My wife is taking a great job in Nashville and I'm following her there.
The last Blind Tasting League that I will lead will be on November 1st. After that, we will take a break from blind tasting as we re-tool the program. I will continue to blog here from time to time. I hope you all come out to my last Blind Tasting League on November 1st at 6:00.
It has been an honor to blind taste with you all! Keep Tasting everybody!
The Wine: Sean Minor Sauvignon Blanc, California, 2015
What we Tasted: Guava, Grapefruit, Gooseberry, "Juicy-Fruit Gum," Green Pepper, Flinty, "Lime-Peel," White Pepper, Tangello, Honeysuckle
What we Guessed: Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Chilean Pinot Gris, New Zealand Riesling
What we Thought: Ever a classic at Metro Wines, the Sean Minor Sauvignon Blanc did not disspoint! "I like this a lot" said one taster, "great porch-wine" said another. "Easy drinking, doesn't need food" said another taster. One of our group called it simply "non-offensive," but still a good showing for an affordable California white.
The Wine: Banfi "San Angelo" Pinot Grigio, Tuscany, Italy, 2015
What we Tasted: Bannana, Pear, Citrus, "Magic-marker," "Circus Peanut Candy," "Starfruit," "Slightly-stinky Guava," Honey, Mushroom, "Almost Smoky," Mineral, "Burnt-Sugar"
What we Guessed: We were all fooled by this one. This richer style of Tuscan Pinot Grigio had us all convinced that it was French Chardonnay. Not mineral enough to be from Burgundy, we thought it was from the South of France in Languedoc. I think we were not used to a Pinot Grigio that had that much body!
What we Thought: Although we were impressed by the rich body and flavor of this Pinot Grigio, it wasn't the most popular. I asked our panel if they liked the wine, the answers were less than glowing. "Meh" said one taster, "Not really" said another. One taster suggested that "it might improve with food." This was the least favorite of the night.
The Wine: Sant Evasio Barbera D'Asti, Piedmont, Italy, 2015
What we tasted: "Cranberry flavored-Marshmallow," Black Cherry, "Goji Berry," Blueberry, Mushroom, Baking spices, "Cherry-Flavored Benadryl," "Synthetic flavors"
What we Guessed: French Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Piedmont Barbera
What we Thought: This one was a hit with our tasting panel, especially considering the price! "I like it" said one taster, "interesting smoothness" said another. One taster suggested that it "needs food and time," suggesting that it might benefit from some aging. I saw more than one mouth drop open in shock at the $10.99 price tag once the bottle was revealed though!
The Wine: Glenelly Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2014
What we Tasted: Smoke, pepper, Mushroom, Lavender, Dried Cherries, Prune, Caramel, "Meaty," Tobacco, "Sweaty Leather," medicine, Dark Chocolate, "Sun Dried Tomato," "Tree Bark"
What we Guessed: Rioja Tempranillo, South American Cabernet, South African Cabernet
What we thought: This crowd favorite was the best in show of the night! "Like it? I love it!" was one comment. This popular wine was enjoyed by virtually all of our tasters, although one taster said it "needs food."
The Wine: North by Northwest Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Oregon, 2014
What we Tasted: Pear, Apple, Orchard Fruit, Melon Rind, Slate, Lime, Pepper, "Under-Ripe Green Apple," Cream
What we Guessed: Loire Valley Chenin Blanc, Chablis, White Burgundy
What we Thought: Our tasting panel agreed that this was a pretty good wine, but it definitely needed some food! "Not perfect for sipping, but it would be great with food" pretty much summed up our panel's opinion.
The Wine: Valckenberg Gewurztraminer, Pfalz, Germany, 2015
What we Tasted: "Apple Cider," Cinnamon, "Syrupy Apricot," Anise, Honey, Lemon Zest, Apple Pie
What we Guessed: French Viognier, Alsatian Gewurztraminer, German Gewurztraminer
What we Thought: For an off-dry wine, this was a very warmly received wine with our tasting panel! "I like it a lot!" said one taster, "Complex, lots going on" said another. "I want to sip this while I'm sitting around the fire" was one taster's comment, and another said that "it keeps you coming back" while he was sniffing it again and again. Overall, a very good showing for a slightly sweet wine!
The Wine: Altaroses Grenache, Montsant, Spain, 2015
What we Tasted: "Cherries & Leather," Wood, "Sweaty feet," Strawberries, "Black jelly-bean," Sour Cherry, "Gravel Road-dust," "Sandalwood incense," Mushrooms
What we Guessed: Spanish Tempranillo, Rioja Crianza
What we Thought: This was another popular wine with our tasting panel. "It's really complex!" said one taster, "really long finish" said another. Again, our panel thought that it might benefit by pairing with a meal. "Great wine but needs food" said one taster, and another said that it "would go really well with some meat!" A solid showing by one of my favorite wines!
The Wine: Woop Woop Shiraz, Mclaren Vale, Australia, 2016
What we Tasted: Black cherry, "Cigar Smoke," Clove, Under-ripe blueberry, Menthol, "Cherry cola," Tobacco, "Dried Cherries," Root beer
What we Guessed: California Zinfandel, California Cabernet, California Merlot
What we Thought: Our panel was mostly happy with this Aussie Shiraz, but no one guessed that it was Syrah or Australian. It lacked the jammy, over the top fruit of Australia and peppery bacon-fat of Syrah. This is probably why we liked it! This vintage was surprisingly restrained for an Australian Shiraz, and there were some who described it as a food wine. "A bit naked without food" said one taster, "I like it, but it needs food" said another. Still, a surprisingly good showing by a wine that has not been popular with our panel in the past.