The Perils Of Tasting Blind (Oct. 20, 2007)

The evening started off with a white wine that was obviously Burgundy, the question was where in Burgundy. Now, the nose really said "sea". Sea air, sea breezes, sea water, fossils. So I said, tentatively, Chablis. But the palate just wasn't crisp enough so I withdrew my guess and opted with the majority for Puligny. Turned out to be a Chablis, Louis Jadot, Chablis Premier Cru, Vaillons, 2000. I tasted it last summer and thought it was going downhill at the time. This bottle survived and fared better and I must admit it was an interesting experience, especially the nose but overall, nothing to sings psalms about. WineRoute have been selling it for 200 NIS for close to three years and can't seem to get rid of the stuff.

The first red was mine, so I didn't have to endure another fumble but as soon as I tasted it, it was obvious to me no one would guess the country or varietal. Darkly colored and highly extracted, the almost unanimous opinion was Super-Tuscan; what it was, though, was Alion, 1999, a Ribera Del Duero in other words, 100% Temperanillo. I had read it was a modern wine but I had hoped eight years post-vintage would have been enough to bring out some Spanish characteristics but no such luck. Sweet, ripe black fruit, a touch of red, great length and all but really not what I (used to) buy Spanish wines for. I've been told since that Alion needs more time to mellow and I think it had enough structure for laying down some five-seven years longer but it's academic as I don't have another bottle. My bottle was bought in Barcelona, thank God, as HaKerem imports it for a marked up price, which I don't recall offhand.

The second red had me guessing Bordeaux for some reason, then Rhone. Turned out to be a Chianti. A very good one, though: San Felice, Chianti Classico Riserva, Poggio Rosso, 1999. In my limited experience with Chianti, only the Castello di Fonterutoli was better. Nice touch of leather over the red fruit, savoury, very good structure. Imported by Zamir, price unknown.

Finally, a wine I found boring at first and said so out loud. It started to catch my attention just about the time it was revealed to be Giacosa Fratelli, Barbaresco, 1997 (not imported to Israel). At this point the conversation went something like this:

- So you didn't like my Barbaresco.

- I didn't quite say that.

- You said it was well made but boring.

- Well, I like it better now that it's started to open up.

- You're just saying that now that you know it's a Barbaresco.


Joe said…
Excellent piece - blind tasting is humbling - I do it all the time. I had a nice flight of four cab francs blind yesterday - will write that up shortly. Been meaning to try that Alion, but not sure I like your description. I love that last conversation...Cheers!