We combined our low key Oscars night with our Pinot Noir tasting. In between Timberlake claiming he was Banksy (BTW – Chris seriously loved that documentary. It’s on Netflix streaming if you’re interested.) and Christian Bale’s plug for Dick Eklund, we tasted 5 wines with a side of cheese and crackers.
Instead of inviting friends over to taste our selections, we decided to go through the process once by ourselves. That way we could mess up on our own and prepare better for the next time. We definitely learned a lot: like the need for a lot of stemware, for Chris to explain his tasting notes beyond “ehhh,” and the importance of smell/taste cleansers like cheese and crackers.
Overall, we didn’t differ too much on the wines we liked, but we did differ on our price threshold. Remember, we tasted these bottles blind without knowing their real price (either retail or what we paid at purchase). The full initial write-up can be found here. We’re also growing a little cautious about W. Wong’s ratings. As you will read below, the term “purple water” may have come up once or twice. It just goes to show that everyone’s tastes are different.
And now, the envelope please…
Bannus Reserve 2009
Bannus Reserve was our first wine of the evening. I thought it was a little scary on the nose, but tasted smooth – mild mannered, yet tasty. Kind of like a friendly neighbor. (Is that weird?) It probably would go well with roasted chicken. A good way to start things off, but still a little sharp. Chris enjoyed the smell of this wine, thinking that it had a sweet smell, almost caramel like. Unfortunately, he was looking for more at the finish and the wine fell flat here.
Retail: $24.99, Linda: $18, Chris: <$10 = EHH, PROBABLY NOT
Hahn Winery 2009
Both of us thought our second wine was stronger than the first. I really enjoyed its fruit factor while Chris thought it was better balanced and quite smooth. Unfortunately, we didn’t really agree on our price point. I guess this wine is a maybe.
Retail: $14.99, Linda: $20, Chris $12 = MAYBE
Gnarly Head 2009
Boom! We agree…kinda. I think it’s a perfect bottle to open at the end of an afternoon BBQ (you know, after a couple other bottles have already been enjoyed). It feels a little “thin” but isn’t afraid to say hello. Chris kept smelling different things in the wine and so kept sticking his nose back in the glass to try to figure out what was going on. But once he actually took a sip, he liked it! Our price points are close enough to retail where we’d probably use this wine again, especially if it’s on sale.
Retail: $12.99, Linda: $11, Chris: $12 = PROBABLY
Dante was the least favorite of the night. Sadly, I used the words “purple water” to describe it. It tasted so sharp, and compared to the prior 3 wines, stood out in a bad way. We were happy this wasn’t our last wine of the night. I’ve given Chris permission to stop me if I start thinking this is a deal again.
Retail: $12.99, Linda: $5, Chris: $9 = NYET
L’Attitude 39 2008
Surprisingly, we agree again here. Unfortunately though, it’s priced just a touch high. So unless it’s on sale, we probably won’t have it again. When I first poured a glass, I may or may not have thought, “Oh no, more purple water,” but its sweetness and cherry provided more flavor than I expected. So long as you’re not trying to impress a boss or potential in-laws, this wine is definitely “dinner party approved.” Chris equally enjoyed it’s flavor and taste, but felt there was just something missing.
Retail: $29.99, Linda: $15, Chris $15 = ALMOST
And that’s it. We didn’t have any real winners, but Gnarly Head and Hahn pleasantly surprised us. It goes to show that price doesn’t equal quality or taste. We’re just going to try a lot of bottles and let our taste buds decide. The good news is that this process was a lot of fun. We can’t wait to figure out our next set of wines and invite a few friends over — since we now have 5 bottles nearly 75% full. Hope everyone had a fun Oscars.