Virtual Double Blind Bordeaux Blend Smackdown

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Tasted Thursday, March 4, 2021 by rocknroller with 88 views

Introduction

This was the latest in the series of virtual tastings. Our theme was provided by Jason, along with a generous number of extra wines. The idea was to drink the wines double blind and compare 3 Bordeaux wines with 3 Bordeaux Blends from anywhere else in the world. Jason was the only one who knew the wines in advance. Wines were poured in flights of two and we went through all wines and ranked them before revealing. A second pour was then done after the reveal. With these particular wines it was pretty clear to me which were which.

Flight 1 - Double Blind Whites (2 Notes)

  • 2014 Kistler Chardonnay Durell Vineyard 93 Points

    USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast

    Light gold color. Drank a glass double blind over an hour. Lots of earthiness and ocean on the nose, lemon, pear, , a little smokiness and modest oak. The palate is full bodied, lemon to start then more pear, tangy, nice acid, good stony minerality, lightly creamy, integrating oak tones, medium plus length. Very easy to drink, complex and quite harmonious. Drank this next to a '14 Aubert UV-SL and it was more ready to go in comparison. 93+pts.

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  • 2014 Aubert Chardonnay UV-SL Vineyard 92 Points

    USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast

    Pale gold color. Drank a glass double blind over an hour. I had this about a year and half ago and it struck me much more than this bottle. This semed quite young in comparison and in need of some time. Following up 36 hours later, this was more like I would expect, the oak was much more settled and there was a sense of lift that wasn't there the first night. There's certainly some tropical fruit on the nose and palate to go along with the distinct and creamy pear, and the acidity seems to show more now on day 3 than initially, not as round and creamy now, good lift and tension with the toasted oak less intrusive, but still prominent. Drank this next to a '14 Kistler Durell which seemed more ready to go with the oak more integrated and more brightness on day one.

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Flight 2 - Double Blind Flight 1 (2 Notes)

  • 2000 Château Duhart-Milon 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    Very dark red color. PNP into vessels for transport at 4:30pm. Drank a glass plus double blind over 3 hours starting about 7:15pm. This wine had an interesting evolution. Initially a very aromatic nose with alluring funky earth notes and a suave perfume of floral tones and red fruits. This seemed to change and make us question if it might be lightly corked as some dank, wet notes came out. But clearly that was not the case as this continued to evolve in glass. This seemed to ebb and flow over the course of the 3 hours we drank it. The nose was probably at its best at first, but seemd to rebound with every repour. Initially I had this ranked #2 of the six wines but ultimately moved it to #3. Aromatic and perfumed to start, red fruits, damp forest floor, a little dank with a sense of rotting wood, pencil, with some dark fruit as well. The palate is not quite as intriguing to start; the fruit is a bit flat, but that changes gradually, dried herbs, more spice, pencil, red fruits, damp earth and dried wood notes, with black fruit on the back end. 91+ to 92pts.

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  • 1994 Ridge Monte Bello 95 Points

    USA, California, Santa Cruz Mountains

    Very dark red/purple color. Slow-O'd for 1.5hrs until poured into vessels for transport at 4:30pm. Drank a glass plus double blind over 3 hours starting about 7:15pm. This was really evocative from the outset. Well perfumed with a mix of dark fruits of cassis and blackberry with red fruits laced in, menthol, lots of pencil lead, dried forest floor and woodsy spices. The palate is effortless, concentrated yet weightless with a velvety texture. The mix of fruit stands out, creme de cassis, blackberry compote, with blue fruit nuances and deep red raspberries. Pencil, tar, minerals, and polished tannins with such a great texture and impeccable balance. Very classy and in a very good place with decades to go. Picked this out as my wine. My and group WOTN. 94+ to 95(+)pts.

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Flight 3 - Double Blind Flight 2 (2 Notes)

  • 1996 Château Léoville Barton 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    Very dark red/purple color with a 5mm transition. Slow-O'd for 2.5hrs until poured into vessels for transport at 4:30pm. Drank a glass plus double blind over 3 hours starting about 7:30pm. Lovely perfumey nose of pencil, sandalwood, cardamom, black cherry and cassis with leather and dried wood. The nose was initially ahead of the palate, but changed over the next hour with the palate catching up. Black cherry, cassis, medium bodied, dried earth, brambly raspberry, woodsy with moderate round tannins. Pegged this as Bordeaux and given I've had this a few times, maybe I should have suspected it was LB - glad to find out it was though. Ranked 3rd on the first pass, raised to 2nd in my final vote. Don't forget to give these '96's a decent decant if you can. My #2, group #2 WOTN. 93+ to 94pts.

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  • 1995 Château Mouton Rothschild 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    Very dark red/purple color with a 4mm transiitonal edge. I think this was splash double decanted at 12:45pm and then slow-O'd until poured into vessels for transport at 4:30pm. This starts out somewhat muted on the nose and it didn't flesh our for an hour; damp earth emerges, brooding dark fruits that develop slowly to show more ripe cassis and dark berries, exotic spices, graphite and tar as it opens. The palate changes dramatically too, more wood and spice with introverted and non-descript black fruits to start. As this finally opens you see the purity here, ripe cassis, plum, tobacco, pencil, and wood spices with a caressing texture. This drank young and it had to be Bordeaux. 93-95(+)pt potential. Ranked 4th.

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Flight 4 - Double Blind Flight 3 (2 Notes)

  • 2007 The Napa Valley Reserve 90 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley

    Saturated very dark red/purple color. Aerated and decanted for 3 hours and then poured into vessels for transport at 4:30pm. I like the nose here much more than the palate. Earth, dried spices and cinnamon, black fruits and green notes. The palate seemed a little weird to me, astringent, a little green, dark fruits, brooding, quite peppery, woody and spicy. Finished it up 36 hours later. It was more settled, and I didn't get that green element at all, now more blackcherry and black currants, grainy tannins, graphite and oak notes. I figured this was a young California wine in need of time - that seems to be the case. Rank 5th.

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  • 2011 Viña Almaviva S.A. Almaviva

    Chile, Maipo Valley, Puente Alto

    Very dark purple/red hue. Aerated and decanted for 3 hours and poured into vessels for transport at 4:30pm. Very green and youthfully robust tonight, pretty spicy and the tannins are grippy. Much better about 48 hours later. Ripe fruits, blackcherry, plum, far more subtle herbaceous notes that offer nuance instead of dominance along with strong wood spices. The palate now shows the succulent fruits; dark cherry, tart black currants, plum, strong pepper and spice notes, herbal and twiggy, a deeper slightly more kirsch like character and a sense of body and glycerin without being overtly hot. Enjoyable now, but tough that first night. Of course it was by far the outlier of the group and the youngest wine by far. Score reserved, impression is 89pts on day 3, but I think this just needs more time. Rank 6th.

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Closing

WOTN Voting by Rank: 1 through 6:
1. 1994 Ridge Monte Bello (1,1,1,2,4)
2. 1996 Leoville Barton (1,2,2,2,3)
3. 2000 Duhart Milon (1,3,3,5,6)
4. 1995 Mouton Rpthschild (3,3,4,4,4)
5. 2007 Harlan Napa Valley Reserve (4,5,5,5,2)
6. 2011 Almaviva (6,6,6,6,5)

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