"" What's She Eating Now?: Drinking Blind

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Drinking Blind

When I was a kid, my friend Carrie and I made an after school game out of blind taste tests. We would take turns tying a cloth napkin around the other’s head and serving up spoonfuls of randomly selected items from her fridge for the blind-folded girl to guess. She had home court advantage in that it was her fridge and she knew its contents better than I did, but I was amazingly good at it. In fact, out of all our many bouts I recall missing only one turn: mango chutney.

Fast forward years later, I wondered if this skill I had as a pre-teen would translate to a more grown-up game of blind wine tasting. Would my tongue that helped me prevail through the soy, teriyaki, Worcestershire challenge also be able to help me tell the difference between a Barolo and a Brunello, or Syrahs from California and France? I was eager to find out.

Dan and I sent an announcement that we would be hosting a blind wine tasting at our place and dared those sporty enough to attend. Ten tasters in all, we embarked on a journey through three whites and seven reds. Everyone brought a bottle and sent ahead details which included producer, varietal, vintage, price, and a story about when this particular wine got them in the most trouble. Much to the chagrin of my wine fanatic friend in attendance, we rolled beginner style, with cue sheets informing everyone what we would be tasting. The bottles, however, would be covered, leaving each participant to match the numbered wines to the list.

A couple of ringers did well but most of us were pretty lousy and the more wine we had the worse we got. This trend can perhaps best be illustrated by Dan’s tasting notes which I found on the ground the next day as I was cleaning up. He claims to have gotten all three whites correct. Then came the reds. After guessing the Chateau Canon 1985 Saint-Emilion incorrectly he scribbles “what happened?” in the margin. Then in his notes below the space for final answers he describes bottle number 8 as “a little spicy, big, definitely the Barolo.” He then marks his actual answer with a big “X” and next to it bemoans, “fucking Italians!” Mine was less entertaining, and had a bounty of question marks.

In the end I guess I learned that I peaked at condiments. But I’ll keep giving it a go because unlike most things in life, blind wine tasting is still a lot of fun even if you’re really bad at it.

What we poured:

-Grosset 2005 Watervale Riesling ($25)
-Andeluna 2006 Chardonnay (~$15)
-Domaine de Triennes 2007 Viognier ($15.99)
-Fayolle 1985 Hermitage "Les Dionnieres" (Syrah) ($45)
-Chateau Canon 1985 St.-Emilion (Merlot Blend) ($45)
-Robert Lindquist 2007 Qupe (Syrah) ($22)
-Neiano 2003 Barolo ($30)
-Tenuta Friggiali 1993 Brunello di Montalcino ($60 at time of gift receipt in 2001, not that I checked)
-Louis Cheze 2007 Ro-Ree (Syrah) ($32)


  1. Jess, I remember you telling me about your blind fridge game. I'm glad you aren't truly growing up. -Lee

  2. I think growing up means also giving up fish sticks, which just isn't going to happen.

  3. DAMN i wish i still lived in new york. Mo fo.