Saturday, September 3, 2011

Intimate Pinot Blind Tasting

On a whim I thought it would be fun to have a simple dinner and blind wine tasting with the Fosters. I figured the chances were slim sending a text at 5:30, but was pleasantly surprised when they replied that they were in. We had caught them just in time; they were pulling out of their driveway about to go to a dinner reservation at Town. 45 minutes later they were at our house wanting to socialize and ready to try some Pinots.

I wanted to try out a couple of wines I had recently picked up. The first wines I wanted to try were two Oregon Pinots I picked up on a recommendation from an acquaintance at work. The third wine I had also picked up one of the highly ranked Russian River Pinots Wine Enthusiast recommended in a recent round up of the region. To make an even four, I threw in a random Pinot we had picked up from Hahn that I knew I would not be able to identify by taste. I only knew I had liked it enough to buy it when visiting the winery, which can mean less than you think.

I wanted to start off with a white, since Carolyn prefers them, but all I could find was a cold Lambrusco. I poured a little in an attempt to entertain Bob and Carolyn as I put the final parts of the tasting together. It didn't go over very well. Sue loves this stuff, but I'm iffy on it, as were our guests.

Kaitlynn begrudgingly helped me randomize and number the bottles. She insisted she would rather be working on homework. It was a Friday night, I somehow doubted it. I felt the love.

Everything all set up

Individual set up

I told everyone what I knew of the Pinots. I wasn't certain this was the best policy, but I thought it might give me some advantage, so I risked sharing the knowledge. I knew that two were from Oregon, one was from the Russian River Valley, and one was from Santa Lucia Highlands. Knowing this allowed us to also take a guess at the regions of wines, as we tasted.

Ready to taste some Pinots

For close to a couple of hours we examined, smelled, and tasted the four wines. After allowing everyone to form their own opinions, we talked about what we were experiencing. We had fun resampling and comparing the wines. Having all wines in front of us allowed everyone to refine their opinions. Some even drastically changed. Bob originally gave D a 5, noting a taste of chocolate, but ended up lowering it to a 2. It's possible obvious that we influenced each other, but it was more enjoyable this way.

Finally we tallied up the scores and revealed the wines.


Top to bottom from left to right

B - 2009 Hahn SLH Estate Pinot Noir came in first place with an average of 4.075. I can't remember what we paid for it at the winery. It looks like retail is $29, but I found on the web for $24.

2009 Hahn SLH Estate Pinot Noir

A - 2008 Shea Wine Cellars Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir came in a close second with an average of 3.75. I paid $38 for this from K&L.

2008 Shea Wine Cellars Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 

D - 2007 Domaine Serene "Evenstad Reserve" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir came in third. I paid $50 for this from K&L. This was the recommendation of an Oregon Pinot lover acquaintance at work.

2007 Domaine Serene "Evenstad Reserve" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

C - 2007 Joseph Swan "Trenton Estate" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir came in last. I paid $50 for this from K&L. Wine Enthusiast ranked this as their #1 classic pic from the Santa Rosa Plains, giving it a 97 and an Editor's Choice.

2007 Joseph Swan "Trenton Estate" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

The Results in Ted's Trade Marked Format

I was shocked that the Hahn came in first. I was convinced the crappy D was the Hahn. Wow was I surprised when it turned out to be the main recommendation from the Oregon Pinot lover at work. I thought A, B, and C were all very good. My top to bottom order was A, B, C, D.

We dug into pizza and pasta from Amici's, enjoying more of each other's company before calling it a night.