Counting Is Hard!

Blind Tasting

We wanted to sharpen our palates in preparation for the epic 50 Shades of Grape wine country tour in September, so in a moment of idiocy, we said, “HEY I KNOW! LET’S DO A BLIND TASTING!”

After six bottles, no food and choruses of, “Oooh awesome nose!”, “Smells like a barn!”, “Yummy notes of black fruit and smoke”, I can’t be sure but someone may have said, “Break out the coffee beans Cletus, I can’t smell crap anymore!”

Not to mention the fact that after “tasting” (aka drinking) four or five different wines, the poor sixth one could have been a bottle of Mad Dog yanked from a homeless guy’s hands, yet a wine-tasting drunkard might mistake it for the Heavenly nectar, Silver Oak. Ahem. I’m just sayin’… the palate fatigues.

We unbagged the mystery wines after dinner and the list is below. Now, one might imagine the conspicuous absence of numbers 2 and 5 in the wine line-up (wine-up?) could have set the tone for the evening, but hey we aren’t that astute. Counting is indeed hard.

Number 8: Stag’s Leap Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 ($40)

Number 7: V. Sattui Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi 2008 ($34.99)

Number 6: Talty Zinfandel 2007 ($36)

Number 4: Salva Tierra Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 ($24.99)

Number 3: Seghesio Zinfandel Sonoma County 2010 ($24.99)

Number 1: Fritz Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2008 ($27.99)

Since I brought the Talty Zinfandel from our cellar (one of my favorites!) I already knew what was in bag number six, but of the five other mystery wines, I was able to correctly identify three. Meh. Not a great result, but for my first blind tasting, I’m okay with it. (Aside: If you haven’t been to Talty Vineyards to meet Michael Talty, you gotta go. Heck of a guy and delicious wine!)

I spent twenty years in the hospitality industry and I know a fair bit about wine, but lately I’ve been learning so much more through this really cool video course by Jennifer Simonetti-Bryant. She’s a Master of Wine which is apparently a designation more rare than stumbling across Snooki browsing a bookstore. Jennifer’s killer video wine courses are available at The Great Courses – right now we’re in the middle of The Everyday Guide To Wine.

Whether you’re a total noob or a wine legend in your own mind, you’ll learn a lot from this course. In addition to her video wine courses, you can also follow Jennifer on Twitter.

What blind tastings have you done recently and how did you do? Were you drunk, or do you spit-taste? I’m still learning how to do that and I need to master it by September or I may have to rename my trip Fifty Shades of S***faced.