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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!

October 5th Blind Tasting Results

It was another fun, high-energy tasting and our panel really brought their taste buds! It was a high scoring game with a lot of correct guesses throughout the evening. It was also a personal best for me, getting 3 out of 4 right! Sorry for the bragging, I'm usually proud of myself if I get 1 or 2 right.

Here are the notes from our October session.

The Wine: Pierre Sparr Riesling, Alsace, France, 2014

What we tasted: Pear, Melon, Pineapple, "Elderflower", Concrete, "Beach-Ball", Honeysuckle, "Hint of lemon and stale water", Honeydew melon, Apple and "Way Citrus"

What We Guessed: New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris/Grigio, Alsatian Riesling

What we Thought: One of my favorite wines, but not as popular with our tasting panel. "Not my fav" said one taster, "A little sour" said another. One mentioned that it might taste better "with some food". Despite all of the mediocre reviews, there were several tasters who later said that this was their favorite of the night!

The Wine: Indaba Sauvignon Blanc, Western Cape, South Africa, 2015

What we tasted: "Looks like City-Water", Floral, Pear, Meyer Lemon, Faint Honey, "Gin", Juniper, Metallic, Ash, Pepper

What we Guessed: Italian Pinot Grigio, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Calufornia Viognier, Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc

What we Thought: The jury was split on this little South African gem. "I like that" one taster said, another mentioned that she liked it "the more I taste it." Another commented that they didn't "love it." Overall most agreed that it was pretty good for a bargain priced Sauvignon Blanc.

The Wine: Mud House Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand, 2013

What we Tasted: "Peppery, sour-cherry," Mineral, Fig, "Stewed Cherry," Chalky, "Maple Syrup," "Something warm and sweet," Leather

What we Guessed: Young Bordeaux, "Old, poor-quality gamay", German Pinot Noir, Italian Barbera, Grenache, Cabernet Franc, California Pinot Noir

What we Thought: This one wasn't as big of a hit with our crew as the others. One taster said it tasted "watered down." "Too short in the finish" complained another. Another said "I liked it at first but it offends me the more I taste it." There were a few who said that they "Liked it ok," but most of the comments on this one were negative. It's hard to make good Pinot Noir under $15.

The Wine: Artadi Tempranillo, Rioja, Spain, 2014

What we Tasted: Cassis, Violets, Star Anise, "Grape Bubble-Gum," "Welch's Grape Juice," "Somthing Burned," Mint, "Nerds Candy"

What we Guessed: Grenache, Tempranillo, Australian Shiraz, Argentine Malbec.

What we Thought: Our Tasting Panel was divided on this one as well. Some tasters really liked it, while others hated it. "I"m gonna drink it, but I don't care for it" was one comment, while another said that it "tastes better the more I drink of it." Don't they all! While some tasters dumped this one out, others said it was one of their favorites in the lineup. This is a great example of how different all of our taste buds are. value your own opinion and never let wine experts tell you what you should be drinking!

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September 7th Blind Tasting Results

Another high-energy tasting with home high scores and some low ones. I only got one right, but I got it exactly right! That should count at least double, right?

The Wine: Romanin Macon Villages CHardonnay, Burgundy, France, 2013

What we Tasted: Grapefruit, Green apple, Toasted Marshmallow, "Rotten Pineapple", Asparagus, Almond, "Sulfury-Honeysuckle", Pear, Granite, "Funky-Fungal", Tart Lemon.

What we Guessed: Italian Pinot Grigio, South African Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Loire Valley Chenin Blanc.

What we Thought: I was surprised by the earthiness of this wine. The Burgundian minerality was apparent in retrospect, but when I was tasting it I was thinking Spanish Grenache Blanc. Not an incredibly popular wine with our tasters, but some did like it. Everyone agreed that it might perform better with some food, but it really wasn't a porch sipper.

The Wine: Valckenburg Gewurztraminer, Pfalz, Germany, 2014

What we Tasted: Floral, Spicy, Sandy, Eucalyptus, Lychee, "Dial Soap", Perfume, Gardenia, "Musky Melon-y Honey".

What we Guessed: French Viognier, German Gewurztraminer, Pinot Grigio, German Riesling.

What we Thought: This one was more popular with our tasting crowd, although some said it was "too sweet". Most thought this aromatic wine would be "good with fruit and cheese" although another suggested it "would have to be paired with food". I personally enjoyed the perfumey nose on this wine and thought it would be great with Asian cuisine.

The Wine: Rickshaw Pinot Noir, California, 2014

What we Tasted: Cherry, Smoke, "Toasted Oak", Coffee, Blackberry, Mushrooms, Black Pepper, Tobacco, Cigar-Box, Wet Leaves, "Birch Bark", and "Figgy".

What we Guessed: California Pinot Noir, Piedmont Barbera, Syrah, Zinfandel, French Pinot Noir, and Oregon Pinot Noir.

What we Thought: This wine was very much enjoyed by our tasting panel! "It's easy to drink" said one taster, "We like it" said another group. One taster suggested it would be enjoyable "with or without food". In a time when it is getting challenging to find a good Pinot Noir under $20, we all agreed that this was an enjoyable Pinot Noir for $14.99.

The Wine: Shooting Star Zinfandel, mendocino County, California, 2012

What we Tasted: Minty, "Toothpaste", Eucalyptus, Hay, "Vicks VapoRub", Black Olives, "Strawberry Jelly", Violet, Clay, "Pine-Oil", and "Wet Cardboard".

What we Guessed: California Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Australian Shiraz, Red Meritage, nebbiolo.

What we Thought: This one was a little more controversial. Some of our tasters enjoyed the fruity, minty flavor, while others complained about the aftertaste. One taster complained that the wine "finished like peanut Butter", another said that it was "not a sipping wine" and suggested that it would need food to go along with it. One taster said she enjoyed it, but that it would have to be the "third bottle" consumed in a night. Like it or not, everyone agreed that it had a very "distinctive aroma", with an enjoyable minty smell to go along with the fruit. 

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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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