S&E Wine Club Blind Tasting

Great Falls, VA

Tasted November 2, 2012 by grayfont with 176 views

Introduction

An evening of great fun and great company with an interesting blind tasting format.

Flight 1 - Blind Tasting Event (10 notes)

The format for this was interesting. The ten wines were in numbered decanters, segregated into three groups. Wines #3, 5, and 8 were identified as 1998s, and wines #7 and 9 were identified as 2003s. The other 5 wines were identified as being between 1995 and 2006 (but not 1998 or 2003.) We were also told that there were 2 Spanish wines, 5 Cabernets (a mini vertical of South African and a mini vertical of American cab), 2 Brunelli, and a Chilean wine. We had no idea that the decanters were numbered such that the Riojas were the first two, the brunelli were the next 2, the South African cabs were the next 3, and the Napa cabs were after that, with the Chilean at the end. You would have thought the transitions would be obvious but since we weren't expecting them, that turned out not to be the case.

Red
1997 Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva Spain, La Rioja, Rioja
91 points
tasted blind; had been decanted 3 hours. Sweet cherry/red fruit/hint of strawberry on the finish. fully ripe, no evident oak. light and lively. At the reveal, was shocked to learn what this was. Never would have given this a chance to go 15 years from vintage date and still have so much fruit.
Red
1995 Campo Viejo Rioja Gran Reserva Spain, La Rioja, Rioja
86 points
tasted blind, had been decanted 3 hours. pinkish color around the edges. herbaceous on the nose, as if slightly underripe. tannins still very apparent; dries out the mouth.
Red
1998 Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
89 points
tasted blind; had been decanted 3 hours. purple/maroon in color. interesting nose alternating between slightly sweet aromas and blasts of stinky cheese. dark brooding palate of deep purple fruit. Was surprised to find a brunello on the reveal, as there was no telltale browning - especially surprising at 14 years from vintage date.
Red
2000 Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
88 points
tasted blind; had been decanted 3 hours. slightly pink around the edges, not much fruit, very dry, rough tannins, a touch chalky especially on the finish. Again, a surprise on the reveal; had not pegged this for a brunello at all.
Red
1998 Alto Cabernet Sauvignon South Africa, Coastal Region, Stellenbosch
91 points
Tasted blind; had been decanted 3 hours. Bright red fruit on the nose. Slightly sweet in the mouth, implying the faintest bit of oak still showing. Really delicious.
Red
1999 Alto Cabernet Sauvignon South Africa, Coastal Region, Stellenbosch
tasted blind; had been decanted 3 hours. Rating withheld as there was some discussion this bottle may have been heat damaged or otherwise flawed. the wine was chalky and sour, as if sour patch kids candy had been marinating in the bottle.
Red
2003 Alto Cabernet Sauvignon South Africa, Coastal Region, Stellenbosch
89 points
tasted blind; had been decanted 3 hours. chalky nose and palate. tannins a bit coarse. deep and rich fruit with chalk coating the edges of the tongue. medium finish.
Red
1998 Mayacamas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
89 points
tasted blind; had been decanted 3 hours. Stinky cheese on the nose of this wine made me think old world (incorrectly, obviously.) Sweet black cherry on the nose & palate & a hint of leather had me thinking Brunello, so was surprised to find Napa Cab at the reveal. Nothwithstanding other notes on this wine, I got plenty of fruit (especially considering the age of the wine) and I don't think this is over the hill yet.
Red
2003 Mayacamas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
89 points
tasted blind; had been decanted 3 hours. bright and fresh both in appearance and taste. Another miss for me on the blind tasting, this is lacking in depth for a napa cab but has intriguing earthy notes under the fresh fruit that led me to guess old world. Not a bad wine at all - - in fact quite tasty - - but not what I would have been expecting had I known it was Napa Cab.
Red
2006 Neyen Espiritu de Apalta Chile, Rapel Valley, Colchagua Valley
86 points
tasted blind; had been decanted 3 hours. utterly green/herbaceous on both nose and palate. The Carmenere is obvious - this was the easiest of the blind tasting; stuck out from the others as completely different and clearly Carmenere. Most in the group loved it but I found it slightly underripe for my taste.

Flight 2 - After the blind tasting, Sean opened up a special treat for the group... (1 note)

Red
2007 Pahlmeyer Merlot USA, California, Napa Valley
92 points
tasted non-blind with no decant; this is a massive wine of incredible concentration and power, especially after the older wines served before it. has years and years ahead of it.

Closing

Thank you very much, Sean and Estelle!