Name That Grape

Our Thursday night tasting at Fine Wines of Stockton was a polite version of “Stump the Chump”. Alan organized the tasting this week and gave us a list of six wines at the beginning of the tasting, each a different varietal. He opened five of them and did not tell us which one he did not open. Our job for the evening was to identify the varietals.

The wine tasting was very informal in the sense that Alan did not call on individual tasters to describe each wine. We all described each of the wines by just chiming in when we had something to contribute. But, we did not indicate which varietal we thought each was. We all just made individual notes and then kept track of how we did when Alan unveiled each wine at the end of the tasting.

Here is what we tasted:

2010 Bokisch Tempranillo – this ruby/garnet wine had pleasingly smooth tannins with dark fruit and vanilla flavors. This wine was easy drinking by itself and would pair well with food.

2010 Justin Cabernet Sauvignon – the nose was earthy with dark fruit flavors, significant but smoother tannins than the tempranillo.

2010 Domaine Jean Tardy et Fils Hautes-Cotes de Nuits Cuvee Maelie – this transparent ruby colored wine tasted of berries and tart cherries with abundant acid and very smooth tannins. This wine evolved in the glass to show earthy flavors and a bit of spice with time. It tasted great by itself, but would be amazing with salmon, chicken or pheasant.

2011 St. Amant Mohr-Fry Ranch Old Vine Zinfandel – this Lodi AVA wine was a deep ruby color with a big, ripe fruit-forward nose. Flavors of ripe dark fruit along with a heavier mouth-feel, smooth tannins and a hot finish cry out for food. This wine would pair nicely with BBQ.

2008 Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Classico Riserva – This wine knocked my socks off! The color is still dark ruby and the nose is complex exhibiting dark fruit, earth and cocoa. Complex flavors of dark fruit, tea and spice combined with significant tannins and good acidity. Did I mention how complex this wine is? Oh yeah, I did. This bottle of wine is perfect when you are in the mood for big, complex (but not over-ripe) flavors and significant grippy tannins. I love this kind of wine by itself, but it would pair well with a variety of roasted meats or tomato-based pasta.

2008 Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Classico RiservaBecause I was crazy for this Chianti, we snagged a bottle to take home. Because we have been discussing Tuscan wines for several wine tastings on our blog, I couldn’t resist including a picture of the Chianti Classico DOCG label showing the “gallo nero”. How charming!

Also on the tasting list, but one that we did not get to taste, the 2010 Tres Picos Borsao Garnacha.

So, “How did we do?” you ask (I knew I couldn’t distract you by running on about the Chianti). Neither the writer of this post or her husband got all five varietals correct. One taster, Craig, did however. Congratulations Craig! We hold you in very high esteem!

Next week we will go back to Tuscany with our Tuscan Taste-Off when we will be tasting Rosso di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Chianti.


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