March 2012 Meeting - Taste the Difference

Our ‘Taste the Difference’ evening on 20 March was both entertaining and educational.  A blind tasting and some wine related questions gave the grey matter a good workout and our thanks go to Martin and Auriol Davies for all the hard work they put into making it such a successful event.

Each of the eight wines presented on the evening were varietal wines and the aim of the tasting was simply to identify each of the eight grape varieties.  On tasting the first wine, citrus and stone fruit notes abounded on the palate, the finish was remarkably taught and a mouth-watering acidity and limestone minerality left the mouth feeling revitalised.  The grape was Riesling and the wine was an Eden Valley Peter Lehman Riesling 2009 (£9.99).  The next wine had a perfumed nose of peaches, pears and citrus fruits and had a fresh acidity on the palate, complemented by a hint of apricot and custard with a fresh and clean finish.  The grape this time was a Pinot Grigio and the wine was a Southbank Estate 2010 Pinot Grigio from Hawkes Bay (£7.99).  Intense aromas of gooseberry, guava and passion fruit greeted the nose when the third wine was presented.  The palate was well balanced with mouth watering acidity and grapefruit flavours leading to a long finish of remarkable intensity.  Most people correctly deduced that this was a Sauvignon Blanc and the wine was a Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2011 from Marlborough in New Zealand (£9.49).  The last white, a Yalumba Y Series 2011 from South Australia (£8.49), was a little more difficult to identify but the aromas of honeysuckle, poached quinces and mandarin peel and flavours of grapefruit peel, lemongrass and stone fruit pointed to a Viognier.

Turning to the reds, identifying the red grape varieties was not as easy.  A light and vivid ruby red wine with summer berry, cherry and plum aromas and a fresh, bright fruit palate was confirmed as a Castillo de Molina Pinot Noir 2010 from the Central Valley in Chile (£8.74).  A rich, dark red wine with juicy plum flavours and sweet black cherry notes followed and here the grape was Merlot and the wine a Robertson Winery Merlot 2011 from South Africa (£6.86).  Deep ruby red in colour, attractive aromas of ripe plum, raspberries and blackcurrants, with a hint of spice and a balanced palate with lingering tannins was confirmed as a Cabernet Sauvignon, namely a Chilano Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 from the Valle Central in Chile (£8.49).  Our final wine tasted of spicy, dark berried fruits and had a savoury, meaty plum fragrance.  Dense and earthy on the palate, the wine had a long, smooth finish.  The grape turned out to be Grenache and the wine was a Yalumba Bush Vine Grenache 2009 from the Barossa Valley (£10.99).

By and large an interesting exercise which made us think a lot more about the wines we were tasting and the characteristics of the individual grape varieties.  Some of the varieties were easier to identify than others and the biggest challenge was trying to identify which familiar grape the New World winemakers had used to make some of their delightful wines.