Monday, February 24, 2014

5 x 5

5 different palates, 5 different bottles in the blind tasting. At the table: Kaarina, Laura, Rob, Mike and me.

I don't often have the opportunity to taste different wines side by side. Thanks to Kaarina for organizing... it's a fun way to educate my palate, even if it is a bit of a shock to my biases.

We were trying different Italian wines and picking the best value for the dinner and the BPYC bar.

It is hard not to be influenced by others' comments and observations. The labels were covered. Maybe next time we should try not to say anything, just taste and then later compare notes?

One was a clear favourite. The Peppoli Chianti Classico was the top choice of Kaarina, Laura and me. Full bodied, satisfying and lingering finish. At $20, a bit too expensive for the bar, but we might be able to push the budget for dinner.

Next up was a bit of a tie, to me at least: The Monti Garbi Valpolicclla tasted better than the Barbera, and in fact seemed to outdo the chianti when paired with the pizza. Spicy notes and a long finish. I've always reached for the sangiovese as the more food-friendly grape, but the Corvina blend of the Valpolicella won out.

Although I preferred the aroma of the Barbera, it came third on the overall taste. A very close third.  Barbera is the everyday wine of Piedmont, and some call it "Beaujalais with attitude". The Ascheri D'Alba DOC, at $15 a bottle, was very well priced.

Both Rob and Mike favoured the Masi Possessioni. Not a 'true' valpoliccilla, but close enough, and within the club price range of $15 or under. (listed on the LCBO website as MASI SEREGO ALIGHIERI ROSSO VERONESE). The label boasts the grapes are grown on the estate run by Dante Alighieri's family for 22 generations, and knowing this makes it taste more delicious.

Monte Antico is a label I've picked up for the last three years as a value-priced Tuscan (15.95, now on sale at 14.95). And it is that. But of all the five, it was quickly eliminated with a finish that too quickly evaporated. I couldn't believe it when the blind tasting label was removed and my ready favourite was exposed. Ah well, live and learn. We all have our off-years.

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