This was the scenario at a recent wine tasting for the Arrowhead Wine Enthusiasts Club. I had told the participants that they would be tasting all wines from California. I gave them a tasting sheet, with the typical characteristics that would be found in the wines they were tasting. Next to each characteristic were four columns for each of the wines. They were asked to evaluate each wine for appearance, nose, palate, and then their final conclusions.
When it came to the actual blind tasting, I put the wines in carafes. The challenge was to not give away what the tasting was about. Everyone knows that at my tastings, I organize my wines from fruit/sweet to aged/dry (left to right). I couldn't do that with this tasting, so I randomly put the numbered carafes on the tasting table, and let the tasters try the wines in what ever order they preferred.
Before giving any results away, I will tell you that one wine stood out with most tasters, before they even had tried it. This wine looked much lighter than the other three. Other than that, all the wines had a nice ruby color them. All wines were Cabernet Sauvignon, from California. I had purchased wines that represented the ever more specific AVA's of California. I started with a California Cab, then went to a North Coast Cab, then a Napa Valley Cab, and finally a Stags Leap Cab (think about that Russian nesting doll with ever smaller dolls inside, and you can picture how each wine got more specific - see my article on AVA's).
The wines tasted were as follows. I have included the tasting notes, or comments from the participants: