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MISCELLANEOUS REDS: Double Blind Tastings

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DOUBLE BLIND TASTING on 9/24/94 -- 6 "miscellaneous" red wines: table wines or unusual varietals that were difficult to classify. BC's comments are missing, as are some of the label notes (these things are hard to keep track of after sampling a half dozen wines).

The Contestants:

1. Santa Cristina Sangiovese Toscano (Tuscany), 1992. Price: $9. Alcohol: 12%

2. Beta Test: An homemade wine from Beta grape, 1994. Experimental brew by PB and JG. Price: est. $0.50. 3. Wiederkehr Arkansas Cynthiana, 1992. Price: $8. Alcohol: 10%
Additional review sent in by the feedback form from Jim Beritiech (received 11/15/96):
  • I tried several Wiederkehr products trying to find a local product to support and was terribly disappointed. Every- thing they make tastes the same: too sweet, hard from added acids, too much turpentine in the mix. My dog won't drink it. (Yes, my dog really drinks wine.) I'm ashamed to admit this stuff comes from my home state.

4. Topolos Russian River Valley Alicante Bouschet, 1991. Price: $13?. Alcohol: 13%

5. Porteur's Lemberger (Yakima Valley), year missing from notes. Price: $14. Alcohol: 14.5% 6. RH Phillips Cuvee, Night Harvest Table Red (year missing). Price: $5 (smaller bottle). Alcohol: 13%
Additional review sent in by the feedback form from David Broudy (received 12/23/95):
  • Basically I came up with the same opinion as y'all did. This stuff tastes like a pound of dirt got thrown into the barrel. Blech! To me it had a mushroomy taste and I *hate* mushrooms.

Overall Comments: A fairly disappointing lot -- the best we can say is that we found some of the wines drinkable. The only clear consensus was the experimental home beta brew, which was universally ranked as the wine we most wanted to avoid. Ratings for the other wines varied wildly: apart from the beta wine, every wine was the favorite of at least one judge. Only one wine -- the Topolos Alicante -- was the favorite of more than one (and both of them thought it was the Porteur's Lemberger). Reviews from the judges about their favorite wines, however, were noticeably unenthusiastic.

ME ranked the wines on an absolute scale from 1 to 10 (HTML Table Tags alert):

WINE Mike Sez: (Rank 1 to 10, 10 is best)
Santa Cristina 1
Beta Wine -1
Wiederkehr Arkansas Cynthiana 3-4
Topolos Alicante Bouschet 5
Porteur's Lemberger 2
RH Phillips Cuvee 7
Personally, I wouldn't have rated any of the contestants above a 4.

Three of the judges (PB, SD, BW) managed to correctly identify four of the six wines. With the possible exception of BC (whose notes mysteriously disappeared after this wine tasting extravaganza), it is interesting to note that everyone thought their favorite wine was either the Santa Cristina or the Porteur's Lemberger (only two were correct). Almost everyone recognized the beta test was their least favorite.

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