Saturday, October 6, 2007

Flight of Whites (Wine School Assignment #1)

We bought our wines for the first tasting. Wine School gave us a price range of $12-$15 per bottle, and a few dollars more for the Riesling. We've done wine tastings before in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Russian River, Napa, etc, but this was the first time we ever had a list of things to look at and evaluate. We have to note the color, the intensity of color, aromas, flavors, body (aka mouth-feel), taste (acid/sweet), and the finish in terms of length. Also, it was our first time tasting wines in a side-by-side comparison. It was kind of a challenge for me to pick out the aromas and flavors (Taster A finds this easier to do) but, it was fun! Here's what we got along with my tasting notes:

(note: these are not listed in the order that we tasted them: it was actually Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, then Chardonnay last)

Santa Barbara AVA
Vintage: 2005
Alcohol: 13.5%
Price: $12.99

Color: Yellow
Intensity: Medium
Aromas: banana, oak, butterscotch
Flavors: butter
Body: Medium
Acidity: Moderate
Sweetness: Off-dry
Finish: Moderate to long

Summary: Good everyday wine. Very tasty if a bit heavy on the oak. My impression during the tasting was that this wine would be very good with Peking duck. This was my favorite wine during the tasting.

Sauvignon Blanc
Lockwood Vineyard
Monterey AVA
Vintage: 2005
Alcohol: 13.5%
Price: $11.99

Color: Straw
Intensity: Pale

Aromas: honeysuckle, mineral, mushroom, vanilla, slight butter
Flavors: grapefruit, hay

Body: Light
Acidity: Crisp
Sweetness: Dry
Finish: Moderate to long

Summary: I had mixed emotions about this one. I found the aroma of mushroom very pungent and compelling yet, when I tasted the wine, it just tasted a bit odd. It was interesting but, I don't think I really liked it. Like when I was a kid and I wanted to like artichokes because they were fun and different, but I just couldn't handle the taste. Maybe this one will grow on me like artichokes did. If I were serving this wine, I'd pair it with fish tacos or Greek food. This was my least favorite of the three.

Vintage: 2004
Alcohol: 12.5%
Price: $16.99

Color: Green
Intensity: Medium
Aromas: apple, orange blossom, mint
Flavors: lemon, slightly smoky
Body: Light
Acidity: Moderate to crisp
Sweetness: Dry
Finish: Moderate

Summary: This was a pleasant surprise since I didn't think I liked Riesling (I'd only ever tried the sweet stuff). This is a good 'wine and cheese' wine. This actually wasn't my favorite during the tasting but, tasting all three again after they'd been open for a day, this is now my favorite of the three (the Kendall-Jackson seems offensively oaky to me now).