Arrowhead Wine Enthusiasts Tasting Notes -- November 2010

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This blog will now be the archive for Jim's tasting notes from our meetings.

November 2010

(This is a summary/transcription of Jim's tasting notes from the meeting. Any errors in transcription are mine, and mine alone -- Annie)

What you tried tonight was a blind tasting of 6 wines, the first three white of the same grape varietal, and the last three red of the same grape varietal. The whites were all Sauvignon Blanc. How can we tell? First, we checked the body of the wine. It had a lighter body, so we could eliminate Chardonnay as an option. Second, we checked the acidity level. The was was high in acid, so it could be either Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc, but the wine did not have the petrol/vinyl quality typically found in Riesling. That leaves Sauvignon Blanc. All three of these samples had a taste theme -- vegetal, which is traditional in this varietal. "Sauvignon" is French for "wild."

The three Sauvignon Blancs were, in order:
  1. Cloudy Bay from New Zealand, the most typical of the New Zealand SBs, with overtones of tropical fruit;
  2. Ferrari-Carano Fume Blanc from California, which is a New World SB made in an Old World Style, copied on a Pouilly-Fume (Remember "Old World" means Europe, and "New World" means everywhere else);
  3. Touraine from the Loire Valley in France, lwhich is lower in alcohol, less fruity, and tasting more of minerals and the terroir where it grew.
Now we moved to the reds. Wines 4 through 6 were all the Syrah varietal. How can we tell? It's a dark, heavy wine, so we can eliminate Pinot Noir. But it's not very tannic, so we can eliminate Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. That leaves us with Syrah and Zinfandel. The theme running through these wines is black pepper, leather, and meat, all of which is typical of Syrah.

The three Syrahs were, in order:

4. A Shiraz from the McLaren Vale in Australia. Prominent fruit taste characterizes this wine;
5. A Crozes-Hermitage from the Northern Rhone in France. Northern Rhone wines are 100% Syrah, while Southern Rhone wines are a blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mouvedre. These wines are usually very expensive.
6. A Melville Syrah from Santa Barbara. Typically New World wines are higher in alcohol than Old World wines, while Old World wines are more food-friendly.

Thank you to the Bodtke family for hosting tonight's meeting. Next month is our planning meeting. We will meet at the home of Bruce and Kathleen Field. Please BYOB and a dish to eat.

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