Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Better Blind

Bottom Line: You're going to start seeing a new disclosure on reviews: "Tasted blind."   And, no, that isn't ascribing an attribute to the wine.

The Rest Of The Story:  On past occasions we've examined the influences senses come under when evaluating wine.  Now we're doing something about it.

Uh, wha?

Yeah.  You know, there's the environment factor - are you sitting on a terrace in Roussillon drinking local plonk?  Everything tastes good sitting in the south-of-France sun.  There's the who.  Did a date bring the bottle?  Then there's the question of whether you purchased it or not.  Somehow we're always a smidge more generous and forgiving of free wine.  And what kind of a mood are you in?  If you've had a shitty day, most intake will lean heavily towards the utilitarian.

The list could go on and on.

In our never relenting pursuit to bring you objective, impartial reviews of unerring quality (please stop snickering), we're adopting a new practice.  Fred Sawn over at NorCalWine.com blind tastes most of the wine he reviews.  In his piece on the subject (worth a read) Fred made some very salient points - some of which actually stuck.

Blind?  Like, as in, this wine reminds me of Stevie Wonder blind?  Uh, no.  Blind, as in, you don't know what you're drinking. 

We started doing this some time ago at Fred's prodding and, well, it's presented a handful of surprises.  And surprises are good- especially if they mean honesty

Already we've honestly enjoyed some wines which have suffered from a long term label prejudice.  We've panned others which have turned out to be perennial favorites.  (Ouch.)  We've even pegged an expensive Cab for a cheap Zin.  (Double ouch.)

This is could be slightly embarrassing.  Okay, it is slightly embarrassing.  But the way the cookie crumbles, this can only mean good things for those of you who suffer through these reviews trying to decipher whether we share the same palate or not - let alone taking a gamble on the myriad external factors that could be at play.  It's a step closer to that journalistic unicorn of true objectivity.

But, hey, a step is a step, right?

For logistics reasons we're going to have to limit this to wine we've received as samples.  For one, it's easier to know what all is in the section of the cellar which we've purchased.  On the other hand, samples are in the same cellar (in a separate section) as our personal stash.  When someone goes down and randomly selects a wine, well, it's a lot less dangerous to select one from the sample racks.  As great as a 95 from St. Emilion would taste, we'd rather not find out how well it pairs with pizza.  Brown bag or not.

Thanks, Fred!

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