I learn the most about wine when I whiff on a bilnd taste...

I love blind tasting, I am frequently wrong and often in doubt, but blind tasting really makes me try to focus on my perceptions…

The other night, my wife hit me with a doozy.

When we ‘play,’ I can’t even look at the wine for clues…

On the nose, some gentle wood, not oak…like a thermidor. Some fruitiness, but no sweet or cloying fruit. Perhaps some loam.

It had mature flavors, a hint of that cedar/leather thing I like, but still some ‘dark fruit’ to it. Also, no overt primary fruitiness. More like a mature person skilled and practiced at the art of positive perception, but not being obvious about it. (Like the world’s most interesting man, or Ian Mckellen, or Helen Mirren. Still gorgeous, but with many facets acquired over the years.) Velvety tannins, but still there to preserve and enjoyable structure. It had a long finish that focused mid soft-palate and lingered nicely. Elegant is fair to say.

There are certain attributes I think of as French more often than American, and this had me leaning French. (Foreshadowing my failure.)

Over-all, elegant, refined, well put together, and it made my brain happy thinking about it as I tasted.

I guessed 1986 Chateau Angelus. (Or, Right Bank, at least.)

Eyes open, it was a gorgeous dark red/brick and looked lovely in the stem.

My wife then smirked and revealed to me…

1989 Knights valley Ravenswood Merlot!


During that big Ravenswood blowout this year or last, I indulged in their Merlot offerings.

This was amazing.

Two solid thumbs up!

Best part of all: I have another bottle left.

It is very affordable and I recommend picking one up if it appears in your wine walk.

I totally agree, the main benefit of blind tasting is not really in the guessing game and whether you can tell what the wine is, but in the fact that it focuses your mind and your senses more clearly on what is in the glass.

In one of the recent editions of Revista de Vinhos here in Portugal, a wine which costs 3,39€ in retail got a unanimous 17 out of 20 (all tastings are blind in the magazine). The panel were dumbfounded. There it sits, in the company of bottles that cost ten times as much and got the same grade. I’m curious to try it.

This is the exact reason why I prefer blind tastings. Working as a judge in wine competitions is pretty humbling as well.