The tasting group assembled yesterday. Here's what we tried:
Sorry for that terrible iPhone picture. Here's a review (including my miserably embarrassing blind tasting attempts):
2006 Lan Rioja Crianza: Light ruby color, medium intensity. Notes of red raspberries and red currant as well as citrus fruits (grapefruit rind), along with a bit of spice. Not a lot of oak influence. The palate was medium bodied, and I got an intense pepper note on the back end. All in all I thought it was pretty pleasing, but not ethereal. I called it a Spanish Garnacha because of the lightness of color, the citrus note, and the pepper note. There's probably some Garnacha in it, so I don't feel terrible about that one.
2006 Seia Alder Ridge Vineyard Syrah: Ruby color, medium intensity (which will be a trend). This wine stunk. Green olives, barnyard, funkiness. Actually, not a displeasing little experience if you're in the mood for something bretty. I called it a Cotes-du-Rhone, which is unfortunate. HOWEVER, the fruit had subsided to a level that made me think it must be an old world wine. So, wrong for the right reasons (which will also be a trend).
McKinley Springs 2006 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon: Ruby color, high intensity. This wine had some pretty intense oak influence. Chocolate, mocha, baking spice, cloves, et cetera. Hidden under all that was some dark plum and blackberry fruit. All in all not bad, though a little new-worldy for my mood. I called it a Napa Valley Cabernet, so I'll take the points on that one.
Clif Lede 2006 Stag's Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon: Ruby color, medium intensity. I HATED this wine, which is unfortunate, because I recommend it all the time! Anyway, I thought that it was over-oaked in a disgusting way. I said that I thought it was oak chipped at one point. Oy. There were some pencil shaving elements that were kinda nice (and should have pointed me toward Napa Valley), but for the most part it was just 2x4 wood with no fruit concentration. The body on the palate was miserable as well - thin, and not able to hold up to all that oak. I should say that my cohorts liked it more than I did; I think I was in a funky mood yesterday evening. Anyway, I forget what I blinded it as except for absolutely awful - an overcropped Cali Merlot or something like that. Too bad; I still like Clif Lede as a winery, I think.. Also, I have a couple of these in my cellar. Bummer.
Plungerhead 2009 Lodi Zinfandel: Ruby color, medium intensity (yet again). This was unpleasant as well, but at least that's to be expected. Overoaked and thin, et cetera. Actually, not that unlike the Clif Lede in flavor profile (mostly because they're both oaked to Hell), but with less tannin structure. I don't really have much to say about this wine. It was spicy and oaky and had red brambly fruit. I think I called it a watered-down Cali Syrah, though Zinfandel was thrown out there as an option.
Arrowood 2007 Sonoma County Chardonnay: Golden color, bordering on amber. At least I pegged this one! And right on the head, too, though I knew where the person got it, so it wasn't that hard. It's blatantly obvious Chardonnay - everyone in the group smelled it and said 'Well, that's Chardonnay.' I rather enjoyed it for what it was; big, slutty California Chardonnay has always been a guilty pleasure for me. It is that, too, and in spades: Creamy, oaky, big, fat, and fun to drink. For $10 (the price Esquin has it on special at right now) I'll drink it all day long.
Sauvion 2007 Vouvray, Demi-Sec: Pale hay color, tinged with green. Despite the color, this wine was showing notes of oxidation: Petrol and nuttiness. The only thing that I could find that made it varietally correct was a hint of spiced applesauce, which I rather enjoyed. On the palate its sweetness is pretty apparent, as is its one-dimensionality. However, chilled down on a hot day this is eminently chuggable. I knew what this was, as I brought it, and it was obvious. A couple of my cohorts pegged it, though, so good for them!
Not shown was the 2006 Le Boscq St Estephe that I brought, as it was corked. Bummer.
SO how did I feel about this tasting group? Pretty miserable. I wish I'd gotten more of them right - I really only pegged one, though I got close enough on at least one other to give myself the point. However, as they say (and as I keep repeating over and over again to salve my ego), at least I was wrong for all the right reasons.