Here ye here ye! A delightful night was had by all at the blind (drunk) pinot tasting at Charles’ lovely home on September 20th. As previously reported, the winning prize went to Enid Maran, a fine lady who managed to impress the entire group with an outstanding QPR pinot from Oregon, a Montinore Estate 2006. We also welcome Gabrio Tosti di Valminuta to our salubrious group, the proprietor of De-Vino (www.de-vino.com), a wine boutique in NYC specializing in Italian wines.
To recap, the challenge of the evening was to bring a pinot noit from anywhere in the world that is readily available and purchasable for $50 or less. We consumed them blind (bottles wrapped in aluminum foil, cap foil removed), 2 at a time. We first started with N.V. Raumland CuvÃ©e Marie-Luise Brut (German Sekt aka sparkling wine).
Below are the long overdue tasting notes from the evening (by order of consumption, note that the notes were done during the blind session):
1) Merry Edwards 2002 Pinot Russian River Valley
– Forward palate, definitely from California, plum, alcoholic
2) 2005 Claude et Catherine Marechal Savigny les Beaune Las Lavieres 1er Cru. (a single vineyard and therefore “better”)
– Steely, French or perhaps from Oregon?, a little acidity, and also forward palate
3) Ken Wright Cellars Freedom Hill Vineyard 2001
– From Oregon? Sonoma? Violets, herbs, and forward palate
4) Montinore Estate, Willamette Valley, Oregon, 2006
– Minerality, old school, expands into the middle palate, elegant, a spicy kick that opens tart
5) 2005 Claude et Catherine Marechal Savigny les Beaune Vielles Vignes. (village wine)
– [note: this ‘village’ wine beat the 1rd Cru] strawberry, light, forward, French, acidic, also elegant, strong flavors, curious, hit the wall
6) Beaune Domaine Duchet 2002
– In and out, bitter finish, stiff round taste, lots of alcohol
7) Rochioli Russian River 2002
8 ) Pinonero 2000 Langhe
– elegant, perhaps and ’04 Burgundy (not!), syrupy, complex, lots of energy, although weak color
9) Carabella 2004 Willamette Valley, Oregon
– no trajectory, top notes, but nothing more
10) Corton Pougets Grand Cru Louis Jadot 1990
[Charles brought this out from his prodigious cellar; earthy, structured, somewhat hard to decipher after some palate fatigue]
At the end of the tasting (excluding #10), we put the wines to a vote. #4 was the stand-out winner, followed by strong finishes by #5 and #8). With the Montinore declared the winner, we also learned an important lesson on this evening. QPR wines can be just that–a $20 bottle of wine can outshine those that come from supposedly better ‘stock and breeding’ and blind tasting can eliminate some of the psychological weight associated with perceived vs. actual tasting pleasure.