Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Judgment of Ocean Beach...

OK, perhaps that was a bit pretentious but the results were quite interesting and probably unexpected except by "true believers". What am I talking about? Saturday I invited my beau and a few of friends over for a semi-blind tasting of Cabernet Franc wines. What I didn't tell them was that one of those wines was from my home state of Missouri. So along with a couple of hearty cheeses, a baguette, and a little grilled beef off we went. In the line up (and in the order tasted) we had the following:

2005 Ironstone Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Franc
2007 Westphalia Vineyards Cabernet Franc
2005 Corsentino "Franc"
2005 Hahn Cabernet Franc

Everyone was given a write up about Cabernet Franc wines which included a tasting profile and a couple of reviews of wines (different from the ones in the line up) as examples. The instructions given were simple:

We’ll taste Cabernet Franc from four different wineries and roughly same vintage in a semi-blind tasting (since we know the varietal it can’t be a blind tasting). Unlike a tasting in a professional setting we will not be judging the wines on how close they come to a baseline Cabernet Franc wine but more on simple “drinkability”. Try to pick out some of the commonly-occurring aromas and tastes but focus more on things like balance (do the tannins overpower any fruit? too much alcohol? too little acid?) and just an overall impression (this I like, that not so much). After you have tasted all four wine use the accompanying index card to rank the wines from the one you like most to the one you like least. Include a brief comment on why you picked the “best” wine and why you assigned the “worst” wine the positions you did. Don’t confer with anyone else, I am just looking for your individual assignments of the wines.

And the winner was...

The way the wines were scored was very coarse... a wine picked at first by someone got 4 points, second got 3 points, third got 2 points and fourth got 1 point. No wine was rated first by everyone tasting though Westphalia did get a first ranking by half of the tasters and Hahn was not ranked first by any taster. No one wine was ranked last by all tasters. All of the wines were kept at 58 degrees Fahrenheit and decanted before tasting. After the cards were filled out and the final scores tallied the results were as follows:

First Place: Westphalia
Second Place: Consentino "Franc"
Third Place: Ironstone Reserve
Fourth Place: Hahn

One interesting note was we all said that the Ironstone was a bit different than the other three, more "quiet" than the others. Westphalia was described as "rich", "juicy", "big fruit", "a little too rich" for one taster. Most people felt that the Hahn held out a promise but in the end failed to deliver when compared to the others.

So... congratulations to Westphalia

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