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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's Last Blind Tasting League

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!

-Andy Hale

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October 4th Blind Tasting Results

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."

 

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September 6th Blind Tasting Results

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.

 

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August 2 Blind Tasting Results

 

The Wine: Bidoli Sauvignon Blanc, Friuli, Italy, 2016

What we Tasted: "Perfumy," Grapefruit, Lemongrass, Flinty, Floral, "Dove Soap," Apricot, Pine, "Under-ripe Banana," "Caramelized Sugar," Saline

What we Guessed: New Zealand Chardonnay, French Viognier, French Chenin Blanc, French Sauvignon Blanc

What we Thought: This wine caused a lot of sour faces in our tasting panel, but most of us warmed up to it.  "Needs food" said one taster, "This would work well with seafood" said another. After several more sips, one taster said "The more I drink it, the more I like it." The crisp acidity and intense minerality made it a wine that would happily keep some shellfish company!

The Wine: Sisters Forever Chardonnay, Central Coast, California, 2015

What we Tasted: "stinky guava," Pineapple, "Circus Peanut Candy," Musky, "Slightly burned marshmallow," Little bit of oak, "Under-ripe bannana," Toast, "Spinach," Malolactic, "male cat-pee"

What we Guessed: Italian Pinot Grigio, South African Chenin Blanc, Italian Sauvignon Blanc, California Chardonnay

What we Thought: This wine divided our tasting panel. While some liked it, it got mixed reviews from some of our tasters. "Not crazy about it, but I like it," said one taster. Another said it "needs the right atmosphere" and said that he could picture drinking it by a roaring fire in the winter. I enjoyed this rich and creamy, but oakless Chardonnay.

The Wine: Sean Minor Pinot Noir, Central Coast, California, 2015

What we Tasted: "Cooked Strawberries," Clove, "raspberry Jam," Cherry, Lemon Peel, Lavender, Cinnamon, "Goji Berry," "Dried figs," "Inside of Cherry Toaster Strudel"

What We Guessed: Bordeaux red, Washington State Pinot Noir, California Pinot Noir

What we Thought: This wine was almost instantly recognized as Pinot Noir by most of our panel. Most of us were big fans of the fruity and floral nose, and enjoyed the soft flavors of this wine. One taster mentioned that it "needs lamb," although most of us were happy to drink it on its own.

The Wine: Bruce Patch Zinfandel, Sonoma County California, 2015

What we Tasted: Cigar, Black cherry, peppermint, Cedar, Clove, Toffee, Eucalyptus, vanilla, pepper, cinnamon, "plywood"

What we Guessed: Chilean Cabernet, Australian Shiraz, California Cabernet

What we Thought: This was the "best in show" of the night. We all enjoyed this well crafted and complex Zinfandel. Comments ranged from "I really like this," to "it's so complex." One taster said it was "beautiful." Pretty high praise indeed!

 

 

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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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