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Edina Country Club
Sunday, August 30
100% Blind Tasting (wines $50 and up)

10 of us gathered to test our skills in a 100% Blind Tasting Format where we only knew there were 2 white and 8 reds. We were all humbled as guessing 3 out of 10 was quite the chore. I think next year we will have the ten wines on paper and try to match them up although I don't think this would have helped for a few wines.

Here are the results:

2003 Newton Unfiltered Napa Valley Chardonnay
Color: Medium gold
Nose: Butterscotch, mineral
Taste: Rich with butterscotch, lemon, minerals
Finish: Medium and concentrated with butterscotch and lemon notes dominating
Evaluation: A solid wine that had little oak 91 points

Guess: Australian Chardonnay (Leeuwin). At first the color reminded me of a White Burgundy but the heavy lemon aroma and flavor said no. The no oak threw me off but I sample some later and it was almost all oak so drink these up if you have any.

1996 Robert Mondavi Reserve Napa Valley Chardonnay
Color: Dark gold
Nose: Golden apples, floral and honey
Taste: Floral, orange peel, honey and nice minerality
Finish: Honey, apricots, floral on this medium finish
Evaluation: A really nice wine that stood the test of time 91 points

Guess: No one on the board would have guessed right on this unless you had it recently. The color and tasting notes screamed Gewurztraminer from Alsace or possible a White Rhone Blend. I got a kick out of the drinking window from Spectator as they said 02. It was drinking really well right now. Trent did of course bring the dessert wine to make up for the short fall in the price point.

2005 Tatiarra Caravan of Dreams Shiraz Pressings Heathcote Shiraz
Color: Dark purple
Nose: Licorice, coffee, blackberries, cinnamon
Taste: Minerals, coffee, spices, floral and blackberries
Finish: Smooth tannins and concentrated wine featuring a medium finish
Evaluation: This was my wine of the night and the cool climate threw me off on the Aussie Shiraz revelation 93 points

Guess: I thought a new world style producer out of the Piedmont as it was heavy on the minerals, spices and floral notes. A few got it right on the Shiraz guess but no one suspected Heathcote

2006 Audelssa Zephyr (Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre) Rhone Blend
Color: Medium purple
Nose: Violets, mineral, cherry
Taste: Cherry, violets, mineral, raspberry
Finish: Medium and complex with good acidity
Evaluation: A really nice wine that no one guessed correctly 92 points

Guess: It really reminded me of a new world Barolo producer. No one got this and there was zero indication this was a Rhone wine. I enjoyed it a lot and would but it based on what is in the glass.

2004 Bodegas y Viñedos Maurodos Toro Viña San Román Toro
Color: Dark purple
Nose: Blackberries, spices cherry
Taste: Spice, cherry, blackberries
Finish: Super smooth wine with concentrated fruit
Evaluation: Really enjoyable wine that is drinking well right now. Not the most complex wine but for $50 a good deal. 92 points

Guess: I said Aussie Shiraz

2000 Donnafugata Contessa Entellina Mille e una notte Sicily
Color: Dark purple
Nose: Floral, coffee, spices
Taste: Cherry, spice, coffee
Finish: Good acidity and very smooth at this stage of its development
Evaluation: The first time I sampled this producer and enjoy the wine 90 points

Guess: Tuscany so at least the same country

2003 Cuvee du Vatican Sixtine Reserve Sixtine Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Color: Medium purple
Nose: Spices, truffles
Taste: Truffles, spices, and earth
Finish: Medium
Evaluation: 88 points

Guess: CDP and of course had no clue on the vintage

2005 Concha Y Toro Don Melchor Maipo Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Color: Medium purple
Nose: Raspberries, floral, cherry
Taste: Simple on this showing with raspberry, floral and cherry
Finish: Medium

Evaluation: Decanted 3 hours and nothing really exciting. Much better three months ago 90 points

Guess: 2005 Concha Y Toro Don Melchor. I said to everyone we can at least get one spot on tonight.

1998 Chateau Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Color: Medium purple
Nose: Coffee, cranberry, plum
Taste: Menthol, plum, spices
Finish: A bit hot and picked up some cigar notes
Evaluation: Not typical for this producer 88 points

Guess: Aussie Shiraz due to the menthol. No one got this right.

1998 Chateau Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Color: Medium purple
Nose: Blackberry, cherry, mineral, mint
Taste: Earth with spices, plum, cherry
Finish: Medium and balanced overall
Evaluation: Much more Rhone like but really hard to tell 90 points

What are the odds of 2 people bringing the same wine to a tasting let alone the same vintage. Nothing like the 1st bottle but really hard to tell what it was. Decanted two hours.

Two Dessert Wines:

1971 Bodegas Toro Albala Don Px Gran Reserva
Really dark and intense. Maple syrup, minerals and sweet. 92 points

1927 Alvear Pedro Ximenez Solera
Dark amber color with maple syrup and hazel nuts. OK 89 points

Conclusion: If you want to humble yourself do 100% blind! Next time I would have everyone at least state the Appellations as to give us some hope of matching up the wines. This was a very educational tasting and would enjoy doing something similar
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Awesome... I did a blind line-up a while ago and it's quite tough. All it goes to show is that everyone is gravitating towards a singular style of wine. Really interesting having the two '98 Beaucastels side by side blind. At my blind tasting the host threw in a Canadian ringer which turned out to be really good, but we concluded that had everyone seen the bottle beforehand they would have pre-judged it in that narrow-minded way that you so often get in these circles... Thanks for the notes.
Great night of wine. I hit the Newton chardonnay on the nose but after that it was downhill. I thought the 1996 Mondavi chardonnay was an aged Chablis then changed my mind because of the honeyed note. I got the 2003 Cuvee du Vatican Cdp right but I could swear the Tempranillo from Toro was a california cabernet. I ended up only getting two wines right besides mine as far as grape and country. I didn't guess on the dessert wines. Very humble experience.
What a fun event. Need to do this more often, maybe under a couple of parameters like providing the producer or varital (for the reds).

I picked up the Mondavi Reserve Chard back in January off winebid for $10 ($16 after the juice and shipping). Was more of a last minute buy as I needed to fill out a case and didn't really want to spend much. Certainly was worth the risk and while it wasn't a qualifier at $50 or more, I don't think anybody was disappointed. As you mentioned brought some stickies to make up the cost difference.

Still want one of those 71s?
The blind format was a blast. Luckily, I know my own limitations, so I had little expectation of being able to pinpoint the wines! Cool The 1 change Trent and I discussed was having 1 person (rotate the role) know enough about the wines to at least serve them in a proper order. Going from the Tatiarra (HUGE) to the Audelssa was tough.
Thanks to everyone for bringing great wines!
John, thanks for the great notes.
Trent, thanks for your generosity with the leftover 10W-30. Big Grin
The essence of fun with wine is to separate the certainty that so many bring to the table.

We did the same thing last week.

10 cabs
9 tasters

All newer (after 2005), Rudd, Caymus, Columbia Crest, Beringer PR, Darioush, Jordan, Black Box, Heitz, Simi and Merryvale.

All decanted and labeled by number 1-11. Identity carefully concealed.

Two containers of the 2007 "Black Box" 2007 Cabernet box wine.

In the interest of being succinct

Black Box was rated the 4th and 6th best wine of the evening.

Are there others who have had experience with "Box wines" and have the courage to discuss it.

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