Monday, June 4, 2012

Do We Know What We Are Talking About?

Although we spend a lot of time learning about wine, and talking about what we learn, we seldom actually test our new-found knowledge. So we recently decided to put ourselves (and our taste buds) to the test.

Which wine is it? A blind taste test.
Our plan was to sample the same grape varietal from three different regions to see if we could distinguish the differences in styles (and thus identify the origin of each). We decided to work with Pinot Noir, selecting bottles from Bourgogne (Burgundy, France), California, and New York. We then we each did a blind taste test, taking careful notes on each wine, and then labeling each glass with the country we thought matched the wine. Then, the bottles were revealed. The final results were interesting.
The Wines. This was not a "true" experiment.

Nathan Says:
  • I anticipated the Burgogne to be light-bodied, fruity, but on the austere side. From a colder climate, the flavors shouldn't be as ripe.
  • The New York wine should be similar; light bodied, tart fruit, but with more of the stone flavors of the Finger Lakes.
  • The Californian wine should be the ripest. From a warmer climate, it should have ripe red fruit flavors, and be "hotter" than the other wines, and a heavier body.

Comparing the colors and body.

The first wine I try is light bodied, with flavors of dark cherry, stone, and some spice. I'd call it fruity, but definitely tart fruit. It feels like it has some "heat" to it, but it has light legs.

Smelling the "nose" of each wine.

The second wine is fruity as well, but very ripe fruit. The color is much lighter than the other two, and this has heavier legs. It's a simple wine, mostly just cherry flavors, with hints of strawberry and a high level of sweetness, almost like a cough syrup. 

And finally, the taste test.

The third wine is another light one. Tart fruit, with some petrol notes on the nose, and some smoke flavors, along with the expected cherry. Like the first wine, its fruity, but tart fruit. This seems like the most layered wine, with the additional earthy notes.

Tina Says:
  • The Californian wine should be the deepest red, withe the highest alcohol content, and the ripest berry and fruit notes.
  • The Finger Lakes wine should be the lightest fruit flavors, more tart and earthy.
  • I would expect the Burgundy to be well-balanced, very light and drinkable.
The first wine is almost earthy, lots of cherry and oak, with some spiciness.

Reviewing the color.
The second wine is creamy, a much smoother flavor than the other wines. There is a smell of ethanol, with lots of cherry flavor and tart tannins.
Checking the "nose."

The third glass is fruitier than the others, with hints of strawberry. Its a balanced wine, with just a hint of spice to round out the flavor.

The taste.

Check back on Friday to see how we did!

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