Monday, July 14, 2008

Blinded by the Wine

In typical fashion, last night's blind tasting was humbling for its participants. Every time we blind taste we always say how we need to do it more often. I chose the theme & wines this time, so I didn't get to fully participate. I wanted to pick a lineup that would be of good quality & maybe a little unexpected without being too esoteric.

The reveal:

  1. Piazzano Rio Camerata 2005 Chianti $17.99
  2. Colognole 2003 Chianti Rufina $17.99
  3. La Valentina Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2005 Abruzzo $17.99
  4. River Aerie Sangiovese 2006 Columbia Valley, WA $19.99
  5. Coldisole Brunello di Montalcino 2001 Montalcino $64.99
As you can see, my theme was sangiovese. I threw the montepulciano in there because it is related to sangiovese, a quite close relative actually. To me it would have been a ringer or melded in perfectly. Thankfully it was the latter. I was surprised at the River Aerie, I've enjoyed it in the past but up against the Italians it just fell flat & had almost no personality. The quality was there but it "didn't speak of its place" as everyone quite poignantly pointed out. Everyone seemed to be going towards the Rhone throughout the tasting. Once I poured the Brunello it shored that hypothesis up for everyone even more because of the its heavy brett barnyardiness. They were quite surprised to see that they were all sangiovese instead. That Coldisole was sooooo deliciously dark, rich, vibrant & complex. It is worth every penny, truly.

This goes to show that you may think you know a grape but tasting blind will make you realize that you don't.


Justin Fox Burks said...

I have a feeling that i would have chosen the cheap one. I'm hardly ever blown away by subtlety. after all my favorite wine is grenache.

Michael Hughes said...

Well, you never know until you blind taste. Besides, there are plenty of subtle, elegant & delicious grenache-based wines out there. Chateuaneuf du Pape! It's funny that you mention grenache. Everyone at the table kept thinking the wines were Rhones or Rhone varietals. It was fun! Obviously I didn't choose the wines to fool anyone on purpose. I just wanted it to be interesting.