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Posted: Friday, 12 October 2018 21:20

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delWine Tasting Panel wowed by Pinot Noir Blind-Tasting

Oct 12: After an interesting food-wine paired tasting last month, the delWine Tasting Panel with 16 persons was wowed as they blind-tasted 11 Pinot Noirs with the Editor Subhash Arora who, with 63 international wine competitions under his belt, is quite knowledgeable about the rules of such tastings, hoping that soon the panellists will be able to deliver dependable, reliable and sought-after results, writes Subhash Arora while exhorting them to be bold tasters focusing on each wine

The 16 panellists were given a separate room where they could do the tasting quietly without any disturbance. For this Tasting following wines were tasted blind; -the order of tasting was mixed randomly and no one was informed anything about the wine except that they were from overseas and no vintage or area (country-cool climate or warm climate) was disclosed. The vintages were generally between 2015 and 2016.

To make the panellists stay on course, one label at random was poured twice at random and  nobody knew which wine it would be. The objective was to compare the individual scores for the same wine so that the tasters could themselves know the difference. Following wines were tasted in the order indicated (wines no. 5 and 8 were the same):

1.       Framingham Pinot Noir 2015 (Marlborough)

2.       Bourgogne Veilles Vignes des Pinot Noir Albert Bichot 2015 (Burgundy)

3.       Woodbridge Robert Mondavi (Napa)

4.       Robert Mondavi Private  Selection (Napa)

5.       Bouchard Eine  Bourgogne 2013 (Burgundy)

6.       1616 Pfaffmann Spaetburgunder 2016 (Pfalz)

7.       Labet 2013 (Burgundy)

8.       Bouchard Eine Bourgogne 2013 (Burgundy)

9.       Mud Island 2016 (Marlborough)

10.    Small Island 2016 (Tasmania)

11.   Joseph Drouhin Gevrey Chambertin 2013 (Burgundy)

The score was calculated out of 100 points with a break-up of Colour (10), Bouquet (30), Flavour (40), Finish (10) and overall feel (10). In order to keep the scoring somewhat consistent and within reasonable limits the minimum points that could be given for a wine were 74. Thus, if one taster did not like a wine for any reason he/she could not give less than 74-thus ensuring that while taking average score for a wine, the high scoring wines would not be overly-affected.

This was a preliminary tasting in an effort to train people in tasting wines properly. Despite the rough edges and several questions that might be rightly raised, the evening took the 16 tasters hopefully a notch higher in their ability to taste, analyse and rate wine properly. The scores varied from 74-95 but as expected many wines loved by some were not liked by the others. In this episode, we took directly the mathematical average, bringing the scores more in the middle of the range.

In any event, it was clear that the panel preferred Napa wines, followed by New Zealand Pinot Noirs over Burgundy. It could well be because the former are fruitier and ready to drink younger while wines like Gevrey Chambertin from Joseph Drouhin, one of my 3 top favourites, were more elegant, complex and age-worthy. Interestingly, one of the two wines selected to compare the rating prowess of those present, turned out to be oxidized and our idea for comparing the two same labels went for a toss, this time.

My personal favourites were Framingham (91), Bourgogne Albert Bichot (89), 1616 Pfaffmann (88), Robert Mondavi Private Selection (87), Joseph Drouhin Gevrey Chambertin (86) and Mud Island (86)- a tie.  Robert Mondavi Private Selection was a clear choice of the panel over the ubiquitous Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi. An interesting panel tasting that was enjoyed by everyone including Tim Dolan and Malcolm Davies, the visiting duo from  Peter Lehmann of Australia.

The next Panel Tasting Event (#5) will be a blind tasting of Shiraz where vintage and country of origin will be also announced for each wine being tasted.

Subhash Arora

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