02 November 2012

Wente Blind Tasting

October 30, 2012: I attend an online wine event and say, "Who the hell drops a Souzao in a blind tasting? This is the best Halloween trick ever."

September 28, 2009: I serve a Mexican wine blind to my friend Fredric.

I have mixed feelings on blind tastings. I used to do them pretty regularly, and actually got good at one point. In order to be decent at the activity you need to taste frequently and do your homework. It can be fun amongst friends, and sometimes instructive amongst newcomers. Sometimes my nose is just way off and it's damned near embarrassing. This Wente Vineyards event was interesting. Participating winebloggers received four bottles tied in black bags, along with a Carnival black eye mask and the admonition not to peek at the labels.

Wine #1: I think it's Syrah. Black cherry and pepper with a little tannic bite and some tart raspberry aftertaste.

2010 Wente Sandstone Merlot
Merlot with Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot
Livermore Valley/San Francisco Bay
$15, 13.5% abv.

These blends were throwing me off, but you've got to warm up a bit. I've taken a punch, I'm ready to deliver an uppercut. On its own, I enjoyed the leftover Merlot with a ham sandwich on rye with lots of stone-ground mustard. Delightful.

Wine #2: I'm guessing Cabernet Sauvignon with Petit Verdot. Bigger tannins, cassis, olives, black tea.

2010 Wente Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon with Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot
Livermore Valley/San Francisco Bay
$15, 13.5% abv.

Nothing but net. Great bargain here, and it will class up a thick steak topped with mushrooms.

Wine #3: I was calling this one Merlot heavy, Médoc style. Dark, plum, savory flavors.

2010 Wente Small Lot Cabernet Franc
Livermore Valley
$40, 14.2% abv.

A really smooth and classy Cabernet Franc, which is where I was getting the Médoc notes. Definitely check this out if you ever get the chance, and break out the lamb shoulder for a hearty winter treat.

Wine #4: I suggested Portuguese grapes because of the unique barnyard and black cherry aromas, along with something that reminded me of Douro.

2009 Murietta's Well Los Tesoros de Joaquin Souzao
90% Souzao, 10% Petite Sirah
Livermore Valley
56 cases made
$24, 13.4% abv.

One wineblogger actually nailed it with Souzao, but I'm happy with my guess. This is a great wine that's even better on the next day, where it is light and delicate. Highly recommended if you can encounter one of the 672 bottles produced. Serve this with the best pork you can afford (heritage chops, aged and cured ham, etc.).

Note: These wines were received as samples.


fredric koeppel said...

Those double-blind tastings will get you every time...

Wente Vineyards said...

Thank you so much for participating! We had a lot of fun!

Benito said...


It's something I feel that I should do more often, but it requires a lot of time, work, and other people to do it right. If I ever win the lottery, I might hire an assistant to handle all of my samples and then I'd taste everything blind.

Wente Vineyards,

It was a great tasting, and the events with Karl and our group of winebloggers are always fun.