December 15, 2003

The Blind Tasting

On December 13, 2003, the members of the 2003 Forest Avenue Wine Coop met at Gary & Carmen's to taste and evaluate this year's Cabernet Sauvignon wines against six commercial wines--including our premium 2002 Wine Coop vintage. Mark served as the MC for the wine tasting. The blind-tasting process consisted of roughly five steps: selecting five commercial wines to serve as bench marks for the new wines; placing the twelve wines to be tasted in paper bags in order to conceal their identity; tasting & evaluating each wine; making a final comparison of individual results & tallying these results; and divulging the region & vintage of each wine. This process is characterized in the pictures below.

The tasting was punctuated by Cindy's carefully selected cheeses, Sandy's salmon mousse, and delicacies & crackers provided by other coop members, which were used to clear and prepare our palates. After the tasting, we dined on Pozole, a wonderful Mexican dish prepared by our hostess Carmen, which she made from an old family recipe. Carmen also coordinated & planned much of the evening's event. Glista topped off our meal with two wonderful dessert specialties--a flourless chocolate cake and a fresh apple tart that she baked for us.

Surprises and other notable results of the wine tasting:

1) the variety that came from a region in Italy that Tim & Glista found on one of their trips received positive votes from all twelve tasters;
2) our own 2002 Wine Coop vintage tied the Hess Collection (also a Mt. Veeder Cab) with eleven votes, the second highest vote count;
3) the 2002 Wine Coop wine topped Hess in the vote for the Favorite Wine of the Night by a seven to four vote in the blind test;
4) a 1997 French Bordeaux wine received just ten votes;
5) a 14 year old wine that cost $60 in 1979 only received five votes;
6) one of our new 2003 Wine Coop wines would have received nine votes, if one were to factor-in the four votes that were not counted, because each voter was limited to only six positive votes;
7) the three new 2003 CV wines received only one collective vote, because they had a sulfur odor--possibly due to sulfur particles that were used to combat mildew in the vineyard (these wines will be remediated by our master vintner, Mark Holler).  


The Favorite -- 2002 Wine Coop
Carmen's Pozole


The final results of the tasting were as follows:

Ranking  --  Wine  --   Score
1 - 1997 Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano Reserva (Italian - 3yrs. In barrel) = 12
2 - 2002 Wine Coop barrel WC5, French Oak, BR and PC yeast = 11
3 - 1999 Hess Collection Cab. Sauv. Mt. Veeder appellation = 11
4 - 1997 Chateaux Pichon Longueville Comtesse De Lelande, French Bordeaux = 10
5 - 2000 Quintessa, Napa Valley Red Meritage. Rutherford = 8
6 - 1979 Spring Mountain Cab. Sauv. Napa Valley = 5
7 - 2003 Wine Coop Tank A, Cepage = 5
8 - 2003 Wine Coop Tank B, Bordeaux Red = 5
9 - 2003 Wine Coop Tank C, Premier Cuvee = 5
10 - 2003 Camalie Tank E, Bordeaux Red = 1
11 - 2003 Camalie Tank F, Premier Cuvee = 0
12 - 2003 Camalie Tank D, Cepage = 0
 (WC5 was ranked second because seven of the twelve tasters rated it as their top over-all choice, whereas four of the tasters ranked the Hess vintage as their top over-all choice.)