I’m bummed. The wine I chose for our editor‘s blind tasting at this past weekend’s New York Wine Experience was the least favorite among the audience.
I feel badly, not for myself, but for Nicolas Rossignol, the talented winemaker who generously donated his Volnay-Santenots 2005 for the seminar. Rossignol is one of a cadre of growers and vintners who is bringing new energy to Burgundy. He is committed to his vineyards and a thoughtful and serious winemaker.
The seminar was by all accounts a success. It offered the audience an insight into how we taste and review wines. It also allowed them to participate, by tasting and voting for the wines they liked.
We poured a diverse group of wines from all over the world. By contrast, our blind tastings for review are much more focused. We taste like wines in themes by varietal, region and appellation.
However, this event brought up a larger issue that is at the core of blind tasting. Is bigger better? The crowd favorite was a California Cabernet Sauvignon, a lush, full-bodied wine full of ripe cherry and plum flavors. The second favorite was a Spanish Garnacha, a jammy wine that I pegged as Australian. I was half right; it was made by an Australian winemaker working in Spain.
The Volnay was the lightest and most elegant of the bunch. It was sandwiched between a muscular Touriga Nacional-based red from Portugal’s Douro region and the California Cabernet. It didn’t have a chance.
Ironically, the other two wines with the fewest votes were the aforementioned Quinta do Vale Meão Douro 2005 and Château Pontet-Canet Pauillac 2005, which James Suckling rated at 95-100 points in barrel. These three young wines were all tight and structured right out of the bottle. I tasted through the wines again after an hour in the glass. These three had blossomed, while the others either had not evolved much or became less interesting.
It shows that context is important. It also shows that wines of detail, finesse and elegance tend to get lost in a lineup with big blockbusters.
Darcy Kelley — Toronto, ON — October 29, 2007 8:07pm ET
Kirk R Grant — Ellsworth, ME — October 29, 2007 10:02pm ET
Joseph Ganun — Plainfield NJ — October 29, 2007 10:24pm ET
Eli Curi — New York — October 30, 2007 12:17am ET
Alex Bernardo — Millbrae, CA — October 30, 2007 12:18pm ET
Merlin — Zurich, Switzerland — October 30, 2007 1:08pm ET
Bruce Sanderson — New York — October 30, 2007 2:14pm ET
Gerry Stuart — Calgary — November 2, 2007 11:44am ET
Don Mooney — Langley, B.C. — November 3, 2007 4:35am ET
Don Ackerman — November 4, 2007 10:43am ET
Alan Factor — November 13, 2007 5:41pm ET
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions