Over the last couple of weeks, I have been taking my WSET training through Fine Vintage Ltd., in order to further expand my vino knowledge, assist in selecting package features and add some credibility to my self-taught wine education. Amber, resident CWT (Chief Wine Taster), thought challenging my taste buds through a blind tasting test would be a great way to test my education and add a valuable learning experience.
Blind tastings can be an eye opener, as well as a nerve-wracking experience. As Amber set up the three covered bottles and glasses, I had pages and pages of information running through my head. Regions, colour, aromas and flavour characteristics can all be determining factors of a wine’s variety and origin. But when selecting from literally thousands of options, the possibilities seem endless.
Amber poured three wines from different bottles with completely covered labels. Together we tasted and made our way through writing tastings notes in the WSET course fashion, combined with our WineCollective flair.
Eyes: Clarity, intensity, colour
Nose: Condition, intensity, aromas
Mouth: Sweetness, acidity, tannin, body, flavour, length, quality
We searched for the above characteristics in three white wines in order to determine the grape variety, region and vintage.
Quiz yourself and read the tastings notes to make your own guesses before scrolling down to see the answers. You may be just as surprised as I was.
Eyes: Medium intensity, pale lemon, quick evaporating legs.
Nose: Clean, medium intensity. Mandarin citrus aromas with tree fruit and blossom.
Mouth: Medium to high acidity. Apply with strong lemon-lime finish and minerality.
I guessed: In considering the higher acidity and minerality, I assumed a cool climate Riesling.
Eyes: Clear, medium intensity, very pale lemon.
Nose: Clean, medium. Aromas of under ripe green melon, tropical kiwi with traces of cucumber and green onion.
Mouth: Medium sweet, body and acidity. The palate continues to show similar tropical and herbaceous notes similar to the nose.
I guessed: Sauvignon Blanc. A warm climate Sauv Blanc can take on tropical notes as well as the typical herbaceous, green notes the variety carries.
Eyes: A rich and intense medium gold colour.
Nose: Clean and pronounced. Bruised Macintosh apple, ash minerality.
Mouth: Rich body. The apple continues with a touch of oak. Very drying and tannic, as well as very low acidity.
I guessed: Chardonnay! The darker colour and oak characteristics speak true to common characteristics of the variety.
Unfortunately, I failed miserably.
Although I attempted to pick out strong features of different varieties in order to make an educated guess, Amber chose some interesting selections to show the difference and possibilities of each grape.
Wine #1: Joseph Mellot Pouilly Fume Le Troncsec 2012
Pouilly Fume is a Sauvignon Blanc from the region of Loire, France. This wine is known for its minerality and crisp freshness.
Wine #2: Apaltagua Gran Verano Chardonnay 2013
Again, no oak on the Chardonnay. Amber was out to trick me.
Wine #3: Ogier Heritages Blanc 2011
A blend of Viognier, Roussane, Grenache Blanc and Clairette. We both agreed this wine was a touch past its prime. The fuller body should have given away that it was a Viognier blend, but my excuse – “I’ve never even tasted Grenache Blanc!”
Although I was far off on all of my guesses, so was the rest of the WineCollective office. It was definitely a lesson to be learned among tasters on the different characteristics grapes can take on dependent on so many factors.
Your WineCollective package provides a great blind tasting opportunity! Invite friends over and pour the wines into numbered glasses. Make your own notes and compare them to your WineCollective cards to determine which wine is which! Or host a party and ask your friends to choose wines with typical varietal characteristics and see how well you’ve expanded your wine knowledge. Study up!