The following post was sent to us by some of our better looking readers on the East Coast. The opinions contained herein are their own. Although they are attractive, they are not in fact a part of the Northwest Wine Anthem staff, though I realize that this can be confusing. Enjoy.
From Jennifer Richey of Brooklyn:
Recently, I took part in an event put on by Northwest Wines to You their “Tasting Games” alongside a few good friends in NYC. For those who don’t know, the tasting games are a virtual tasting that began this year and commences each month with a new team of tasters. Three bottles of wine are sent that week wrapped in tissue paper so no one knows what they are sampling, by the label that is. If you've never tasted “blind” I highly recommend it. It is an impartial way of judging a wine, and can be a learning experience whether or not you are an experienced taster. I was able to get my friend Benoit Ferre (a winemaker from San Michele Chef-Chef, France) to the tasting table by telling him we were only sampling Pinot Noir from the Northwest. He was convinced that the only real American wine was Pinot Noir coming from Oregon. The French have a history of dismissing our domestic wines, despite the blind tasting famously known as the Judgement of Paris that convinced them otherwise. It was only when they closed their eyes and opened their minds that U.S. wines were put on the French map. Oui, oui.
To make our French friend feel at home we made sure to allow room for some French cheeses. We had raclette, roquefort, and triple cream cheeses to complement our tasting. Our first wine was a lovely rich and velvety wine with a nice complexity and good level of acidity on the tongue. We were guessing a cabernet/merlot blend or perhaps a malbec. As it turns out it was a 2009 Merlot from Olsen Estates in Yakima Valley, and the alcohol content was quite high at 14.2. I was sold on the blind tasting once I discovered it was a Merlot. I don’t typically go for Merlot, thank you “Sideways”, but this was a very tasty wine with a smooth finish that I highly recommend. Especially for those who favor a full bodied cabernet. In the end we decided that if it were a celebrity it would be Scarlett Johansen, with its robust flavor. . .or according to our host Allie, “it has a nice rack!” This is probably not an approved French descriptor, so we should have said something more refined like "garrigue" but, c'est la vie.
Our second bottle was clearly a Rosé just by the look of it. Some things cannot be masked in a blind tasting without a blind-fold, but we’ll save that idea for next time. It had a very tart finish and although we sampled it at room-temperature, our French friend thought that the color looked a bit darker than the rosés of his homeland. We did give it another try once it was chilled, and although it was better it still had a really bitter somewhat tart fruit finish. Our resident Frenchman Benoit informed us that in France they refer to the color of this Rosé as the “skin of an onion”, meaning it had a yellowish tint and not the infamous pale pink of a ripe and ready Rosé. This 2010 rosé was from Witness Tree in the Willamette Valley.
Johan Vineyards Nils Reserve from the Willamette Valley. Our resident Frenchie was happy to have his Oregon Pinot!!
If you would like to tune into the next tasting, sample the aforementioned wines or view other great options from the NW, they can be ordered from Northwest Wines to You. Cheers!