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CABERNET SAUVIGNON: Double Blind Tastings

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DOUBLE BLIND TASTING on 8/12/95 -- 5 cabernets

The Contestants:

1. Rodney Strong (Sonoma County) Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 Alcohol 13.0% Price: $8

Additional review sent in by the feedback form from MF (received 10/9/95):

2. Carmenet Moon Mountain Dynamite Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma County Table Wine), 1992 Alcohol ?? (couldn't find on label) Price: $17

3. Columbia Crest (Columbia Valley) Cabernet Sauvignon, 1990 Alcohol 13.0% Price: $12.70 4. Carta Vieja (Maule Valley, Chile) Cabernet Sauvignon, 1993 Alcohol 12% Price: $4 5. Silver Lake (Columbia Valley) Cabernet Sauvignon, 1990 Alcohol 13.5% Price: $13 Overall Comments: Interestingly enough, the wines were generally perceived as going from best to worst during the course of the evening. Both the Rodney Strong and the Carmenet did quite well: everyone's favorite was one of these wines, and no one ranked either wine below the median. The Columbia Crest ranked in the middle; most of the judges found it somewhat obnoxious. Three judges (myself included) ranked the Carta Vieja the lowest, finding it too weak and thin, although others appreciated its fruity and flowery character. We all found the Silver Lake to be medicinal and artificial tasting, and it was ranked worst by four of the judges and second-to-worst by all the others.

My own personal ratings, on an absolute scale [HTML Table Tags Alert]:
WINE The Seismo-Zombie (SD) sez: Total Sum of Rankings (low is better):
#1 (Rodney Strong) Very good (B) 12
#2 (Carmenet Dynamite) Good (B-) 12
#3 (Columbia Crest) Might be good someday (C) 22
#4 (Carta Vieja) Inexcusably watery (D) 27
#5 (Silver Lake) Fun but really weird (D+) 32
Given the low cost, the Rodney Strong appears to be a good buy.

The judges did rather poorly in guessing the identity of the contestants; none correctly named more than two of the wines. Everyone thought their favorite wine was either the Carmenet or the Silver Lake (the most expensive wines), and everyone thought their least favorite was either the Carta Vieja or the Rodney Strong (the cheapest wines). The wines that were apparently easiest to guess were the Columbia Crest and the Carta Vieja (three judges correctly named them in each case); nobody correctly identified the Rodney Strong or the Silver Lake.

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DOUBLE BLIND TASTING on 8/23/96 -- 4 cabernets

The Contestants:

1. Cakebread Cellars (Napa Valley) Cabernet Sauvignon, 1992 Alcohol 12.5% Price:

2. Preece (South Eastern Australia) Cabernet Sauvignon, 1993 Alcohol 12.5% Price: 3. Staton Hills (Washington State) Cabernet Sauvignon, 1990 Alcohol 12.5% Price: $15 ($10 at End-O-Bin) 4. Santa Rita (Rapel Valley, Chile) Cabernet Sauvignon, 1994 Alcohol 13% Price: $5 Overall Comments: A very interesting selection, with four wines from all over the globe (Napa Valley, Washington State, Chile and Australia)... and we did such a terrible job guessing which wine was what! Indeed, the only judges to get any wine correct were JH and CF, who picked out the Santa Rita -- and both of them admitted to recognizing the taste, as Santa Rita is a wine they regularly imbibe. (We also note that BW was only allowed a tiny sip of each wine on which to base her review). The most controversial contestant was the Staton Hills, a wine that every judge either picked as their favorite (JH, FT, CF, SD) or least favorite (KO, BW). The lowest scoring wine overall was the upper scale Cakebread, although BW did profess somewhat of a liking for it. The inexpensive Santa Rita held up amazingly well against it's higher priced companions, and was even chosen as the favorite wine by the judges who didn't like the Staton Hills. As KO noted, the contestants generally lacked a prominent nose.

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