A Blind Tasting just for the heck of it 07-10-14


One of our goals for 2014 is to show more & more tasters what is “good” wine.  On this night, there was no serious agenda.  It was just to show some of our wine friends, how blind tasting could help discern different attributes of some, what I think, good wines.

0A42011 Andis Zinfandel “Orginal Grandpere Vineyard”

Our first wine of the tasting was a new release from Andis Wines, which is located in Plymouth, California.  We think what winemaker Mark McKenna is doing, is worth checking out.  He seeks delicious-ness, texture & balance in his wines.  With the 2011 vintage Andis purchased grapes (115 cases worth) from the iconic Grandpere Vineyard.  (Because someone else is using the same name, this 10 acre vineyard is now referred to as the “Original Grandpere Vineyard”).  The now VERY fragile vines are 143 years in age & cared for by Terry Garvey with motherly love & care.  Located at 1300 feet in elevation, this is the “oldest documented Zin vineyard in California“.  The soil is sandy loam on decomposed Sierra Nevada granite.

The tasters noted ripe fruit…(my wife Cheryle noting strong blueberry character)……raisiny….oak, spiced, VERY vinous with lots of underlying character & nuance.  The wine had a wonderful mouthfeel–rich, lush, seamless–with a little alcohol poking out in the finish.  Everyone really loved the wine’s innate vinosity…its flow, texture & over all balance.   Yes, we would all buy it again…..which I think says alot.  I believe, however, this wine is only available at the winery.

2010 Chateau Belle-Vue  0A3

This is a Bordeaux, which we feel offers GREAT VALUE.  The estate is 10.4 hectares of vineyards, with very gravelly soils, in the Haut Medoc (in fact across an old drainage ditch away from Chateau Giscours in Margaux).  The 2010 is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot & 20% Petite Verdot, which was aged in oak (40% new) for 14 months.

On first whiff, one can definitely smell the gravel….& most tasters immediately started discussing Bordeaux.  The gravel/pencil lead quality permeated throughout the wine from beginning to end.  The wine has wonderful balance & flowed very evenly & seamlessly on the palate.  A pretty, tasty wine.

 0A22007 Albino Rocca Barbaresco “Brich Ronchi”

Here was highly quality Italian Nebbiolo in all its glory.  Most tasters were quite surprised at how open it showed.  Tar, earth, musk, cedar & floral nuances just jumped out of the glass.  The wine has refinement, class & pedigree & was the most complex, by far, of the first 3.  YES, we would all definitely buy another of this majestic Italian.

The estate is but 4 hectares of 50 to 70 year old vines.  The vineyard is terraced & meticulously farmed.  (On our last visit, my wife Cheryle was surprised to hear cuckoo birds in the vineyard).  The 2007 was aged in 80% German & Austrian oak (20hl) & 20% French for 2 years.  0A10A5


2009 Muller Catoir Gimmeldingen Riesling Dry & 2011 Schloss Lieser Spatlese Dry

Our goal here was just to show tasters how soil can greatly affect a Riesling.  And as tasters soon saw, DRY versions are most transparent.  One has to, therefore, be precise & skillful in producing one.

The Gimmeldingen parcels (of Pfalz, Germany) are largely loess & sand, & this wine in comparison showed a softer, lush, rounder wine with a more tropical fruit profile.

The 2011 Schloss Lieser Estate Spatlese in 2011, on the other hand, was 100% Niederberg Helden (on the Mosel)–steep, rocky(weathered slate)–with NO botrytis–(harvested at 95 degress oechsle) with pencil lead, higher toned pear, apple, slight lychee fruit & much more pronounced acidity.  I think tasters will remember this comparison for a long time!

Thank you to all who participated!

Categories : General, Wine, Wine Thoughts

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