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.