Blind tasting

In Ephrata, for Brix & Stone during 2010-2013, we did blind beer tastings.  I had a wonderful time leading groups as large as 25 through tastings.  Sometimes we had novices and there was a lot of education and discussion, other times we had a die-hard group of regulars that knew their stuff and wanted to blast through the tasting to know what they were going to take home with them; very fond memories of these evenings.

During my time at WWCC’s EV program we did many tastings, blind and otherwise.  Repetition and frequent discussion expanded my vocabulary and my ability to provide names for flavors and sensations.  Of course, tasting wheels for beer and wine are fairly common; good tool to have around.

It is important to realize that each of us needs to accept and enjoy the wines (or beers) we favor without feeling like we have to get the 92 point or Platinum winners; unless you find you really like the wines that a reviewer gives high points and excellent reviews to the information is purely subjective.  Never let someone make you feel less for your choice of beverage if you really enjoy it; it is still bullying and unacceptable.

Walla Walla Rose' blind tasting.
The first round of six Walla Walla Rose’s poured for comparison.

With Spring’s arrival came the 2015 Walla Walla wines and the Third Annual Rose’ Tasting.  Hubby and I participated in the non-industry tasting last month.  The night before wine-industry people gathered for a tasting of the same wines.  Naturally, there are a lot of wine industry people who didn’t fit into that first evening, so we signed up for the second night.    From those tastings a smaller group of us signed up to taste the 12 most preferred Rose’s to determine the ‘top’ three.  Two rounds of six glasses narrowed to six total wines and the last round of six ranked.

The anticipation was high when we arrived for the Finale this week.  Grabbing our six glasses (rented for the occasion) and a spit cup (important for lightweights like me) we organized ourselves and labeled our glasses A-F for organization.  Once the first round was poured I noted the color and the aromas (strong/weak included) of all of them before proceeding with tastes.  There is no guarantee in a blind tasting that there will be a good order for tasting, and this helps me to get an idea of what I am in for.  Swirling, swishing and really getting details of the wine to put in my notes and spitting each wine.  Repeating, I use smaller sips the second time, two if they seem too close to call.  Then I ranked each one for preference.  Sitting beside my hubby as we did this was interesting as our palates have diverged considerably since we began our Wine Odyssey and we sometimes contradict each other.



Some Walla Walla Rose wines.
Some of Walla Walla’s 2015 Rose wines revealed post tasting last month; all excellent.

There are a lot of Walla Walla Rose’s.  To be part of the tasting the current year had to be bottled with tech sheets provided (i.e. Locati Cellars 2014 Rose’, 2015 wasn’t bottled in time for these tastings).  All of the Rose’s are excellent wines; I have been known to tell customers in the tasting room that Walla Walla is very competitive and you have to be above average to stay open here.  I preferred the fruity, dry and acidic wines; green pepper and lots of residual sugar being less pleasing to me.  Hubby likes less blatant acids and more green pepper.  We both appreciate a well-balanced wine with ‘complex’ aromas and flavors (means more than one smell and flavor) and a nice finish.  Notice these words are pretty vague? I encourage YOU to take notes of what you taste and see where your palate takes you.  Use this: blindtastingsamplesheets to help you get started with your tasting events.  One for beer and the other for wine.  When organizing a blind beer tasting plan to provide some basic information as you unwrap the containers.  For wine tastings, most wineries provide tech sheets (sometimes under ‘Trade’) that you can print.

A huge thank you to Mike for planning and executing the Annual Rose’ Tasting and hosting the finale. The ‘after party’ was a bon fire and dinner off of the grill with the rest of the Rose’s (despite the rain). Cheers!

Bonfire and dinner post wine tasting.
Grilled chicken, roasted asparagus, seasoned cauliflower and salad to pair with rose’s of our choice and a fire.

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