Sunday, January 3, 2010

Tasting 3 blind

Blind tasting

Last week, late at night, I blind tasted 3 wines. All pinot noir - 2 Niagara pinot noirs, and a Chambolle-Musigny. And I had a great time. The wines:

2008 Flat Rock Cellars Pinot Noir

2007 Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Pinot Noir

2005 Alain Hudelot-Noellat Chambolle-Musigny

I don't normally believe in these blind tasting. I firmly believe in context, and not knowing what wine you're tasting robs you of that perspective. Nevertheless, I really wanted to see how the Niagara wines would fare against Burgundy. 2007 in Niagara and 2005 in Burgundy were similar in terms of climatic conditions, both producing wines of density and concentration. When I blind taste, I do it by judging colour and bouquet. I almost never have to actually drink the wine to form an opinion of what it is.

I poured a glass of each wine, no decanting, at just past midnight. Over the next 3 hours or so, I slowly tasted through each. The focus was to correctly identify which was which, as well as getting a sense of which wine I preferred. It was interesting - the 2008 Flat Rock was instantly recognizable. The slighting browning colour alone gives it away. But I just couldn't tell between the Le Clos Jordanne and the Chambolle-Musigny. There was something so similar in terms of density of the wine, colour, fruit profile, and varietal character that I was utterly confused. The difference between the two wines became recognizable the next day, but that night, I was stumped. Delicious all around.

After 24 hours, I repeated this exercise. This time, the pedigrees of each wine revealed themselves much clearer. The 2008 Flat Rock was again the lightest in colour, but with an incredible spicy intensity on the bouquet. The 2007 Le Clos Jordanne showed a jamminess in its fruit, but with great balance and texture. The 2005 Chambolle-Musigny was deliciously gamey, with a smoky, meaty character. Wonderful. And I correctly identified all three!

An interesting exercise. I'm still not convinced that tasting wines blind is the best way to judge a bottle. There really is no point in proclaiming which one is best/worst, is there? All 3 wines showed marvelous character and personality. Just spectacular.



  1. Had a Le Clos Jordanne 2006 Clay Terrace, and I must say the nose was far more intersting then the taste, or I guess I should say the nose was bigger the palate was not as big and it had a wierd sharpness of acidity on it.

  2. Really? I found the 2006 Claystone Terrace pinot noir to be a lot softer on the palate in terms of acidity.