ANSWERS: Wines #18 | #19 | #20 | #21

Moment of truth.

What were the wines from the last set of blind tastings?

Wine #18 | Wine #19 | Wine #20 | Wine #21


Wine #18

In Summary:

  • pale, light straw in color, just a tinge of green, clear. 
  • some tropical fruit, peaches, citrus, minerals ~ something else interesting going on that I can't quite put my finger on... something a little green maybe?
  • crisp! bright. med+ acid, makes me want to drink more.
  • a little high in alcohol, so I'm thinking new world maybe?

I said New Zealand Sauv Blanc. Nope.


 from RIAS BIAXAS (NW Spain).

Columna (2011)

The reason why "briney" was such an important note: because it is RIGHT NEAR THE SEA. It wasn't as "intense" in aroma as I had expected an Albarino to be (I had one before that smelled like canned peaches), but maybe the one I had previously was just a really warm year?  Either way, a lovely wine. (and my notes are not too far off...

Ole Imports: "A terrific Albarino from vineyards planted in 1978 on granite and slate-based soils, the 2011 Columna Albarino exhibits exotic notes of pineapples, white peaches and honeysuckle, fresh acids, and medium-bodied, intense, concentrated, alluring flavors."

Click on any of the images or the link above to OLE IMPORTS for a great write up on the region & wine!

Quick Recap:

  • Clear, golden yellow. No rim variation.
  • Citrus, apples, some herbs, spice, something sweet? Used oak. I also maybe got something floral.
  • Again, bright citrus fruit. Medium body, Med+ Acidity, Med Alc.

Seemed old world, but something about it reminded me of a wine I tried while we were out in Napa, California recently... Something was bringing me back there... (** One of the many cool things about taste/smell memory is its close connection to EPISODIC memory - the types of memory for a specific time/place... "Mental Time Travel" as Endel Tulving, PhD would say, which is different from SEMANTIC memory (more facts, knowledge, etc). One of these days I'll write a little post about this in METAWINE, but for now, it is sufficient to say that something about this wine "BROUGHT ME BACK" to NAPA, CALIFORNIA.


Saint-Véran 2011 - Château de Pierreclos 

 which is...White Burgundy

White Burgundy is simply Chardonnay from the Burgundy region of France

(RED Burgundy is just PInot Noir from this region)

More specifically for THIS wine, it is from a special sub-appellation, Saint-Véran, which is in one of the more southern parts of Burgundy (Mâcon). Looks like my "mental time travel" was a bit off! ... especially since I've never been to France...

"Here the expressive nose is fresh and clean with notes of citrus, stone and white flowers complementing rich and notably full-bodied flavours that are quite serious for the appellation before culminating in an extract-laden finish that is chewy, intense and impressively persistent - AM Comments: Outstanding Top Value"

This wine does see a little time in new oak, which is what I was accociating with my trip to California, While I was there, I visited the famous Chateau Montelena, which won first place in the  Judgment of Pairs  (wiki). This was a blind-tasting of FRENCH Wines (BURGUNDIAN) vs. CALIFORNIAN Wines. Chardonnay for the Whites, and Pinot Noir for the Reds. Apparently the ALL FRENCH judging pannel was chatting and discussing which wines were French vs. American. "Oh, this is clearly French..." was apparently proclaimed about an American wine, according to George Taber, who was the Reporter at the event. Anyway, to make a long stpry short, the winner of the Whites was a 1973 bottle from Chateau Montelena, which is as "Burgundian" as a Cali-Chard can be...

In my defense ( I make a lot of excuses for myself), I've only had ONE OTHER WHITE BURGUNDY (other than from Chablis - which is not Oaked), so I'm not too surprised that it reminded me of something I had while in Napa... I  AND since it is from the SOUTHERN Part of BURGUNDY, the grapes here would be MORE RIPE and FRUIT FORWARD than those from the Northern Parts.... Haha... Okay - enough excuses. If you want to learn more about the Judgment of Paris, here are some fun resources:

  • Clear, yellow. Not quite straw, not quite golden. Just in the middle. Med, Med+ Viscosity.
  • Pretty intense/fragrant on nose. Got a lot of fruit... basically a little of everything, and definite oak. I don't know why I always say "floral" , but it was more just fragrant, vanilla, some butter, like it had spent some time in new oak.

It still had some crisp acidity, so I think this is a New World wine, from  California. And it is a young wine, but a cooler year... I'm thinking 2011.  I originally said Napa... 

Chardonnay 2011 - Santa Barbara, California (Sandhi) 

Eh. Okay - not quite Napa. SANTA BARBARA is a LOT further South. Do I still get credit?


For a little more info about where the grapes from this wine come, how the wine is made, etc, below is directly from SANDHI Wines, an amazing collaboration between Rajat ParrCharles Banks and Sashi MoormanProducers:

"The fruit for this bottling comes from our sites in the Santa Rita Hills, Santa Maria and Santa Ynez appellations. The average age of the vines is over 25 years and is from specific parcels of Wente selection. The wine is pale gold in the glass with a toasty nose and citrus hints of lime peel. The palate is vibrant with good structure showing plenty of restraint, balance and salinity. The wine’s expressive aromatics and generous texture are balanced by a lively acidity and great uplift in the finish. This is a nice entry-level offering and is a great introduction to the style of our wines."

Here are tasting notes for this Cali-Chard from (and I couldn't agree more) : "Very pale. Fragrant, delicate, hint of spice. Touch of melon and citrus. Naturally high acid. Pure and fresh and delicate. Creamy and intensely fresh on the palate. 'Happy wine'. Very aromatic for Chardonnay. So supple. (JH) 13.5%"

Tasting Recap for this wine:

  • Clear, medium golden in color. Looks a little oxidized (and smells like it too)!
  • Medium Body. Some legs (tears on the glass), so med/med + alcohol.
  • Some oxidative notes, similar to sherry
  • Some citrus & apples, orchard fruits, but also something figgy, golden raisins, and dried herbs. Maybe spent some time on the lees? (yeast! lees are just the yeast after they've died... and they are yummy - gives it a nutty, saline quality).

Now, in my post for this wine, I went into a little bit of detail about two different, unique wines, but my final guess was correct!

Savennières: Chenin Blanc from Savennieres, France in the Loire Valley. Again, as in traditional Old World fashion, named for place, not for the grape.

Savennières - Château de l'Eperonnière, Croix Picot 2010

Tasting Notes from Downtown Cellars: "Aromas of quince, green tea, and white flowers with hints of mushroom and lanolin. Rich and creamy but packed with lively white peach and lemon, backed by saline and mineral notes on the finish."

All-in-all, it seems as though I only got 50% correct in this round:

One serious fail (White Burgundy, Chardonnay from Macon, Burgundy, France), one so-so miss (Abariño from Rias Baixas, Spain), and one correct grape, wrong "place", depending on how strict we are being (Chardonnay from Santa Barbara, CA), and one success (Savennières,  Chenin Blanc from Savennières, Loire Valley, France). 

Still mad about that White Burgundy.

I hope that is burned into my palate memory, so next time, I won't miss.

By the way, in case you were wondering, all the wines were great.