The great new LA radio station, The Sound 100.3 are going to be playing 64 full albums in pairs for listeners’ votes, in what they are calling “Album Madness” so we are on to something here!
Spread the world people, and hopefully next year we can achieve my true dream of having wineries send us wine and truly taste by regions… Napa, Sonoma, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, Malibu, Finger Lakes, Texas, etc.
As always, also check out http://jasonswineblog.com/grape-madness/ for full brackets and results!
Here are some lessons I learned from the first round of tasting.
First, I have a pretty good palate, and though perhaps it is not that amazing to some, I was able to blindly pick out the Malbec and the Pinot and a few of the Cabs.
Second, tasting by yourself is a scary and lonely venture… and I will admit, as I am loathe to dine alone or until recently go to a movie alone, I did have a friend over to taste with me. He is not one of the official raters, nor was he allowed to discuss anything about the wines until I tasted through all of them, but I feel full disclosure is important. Heck, otherwise I would have been sitting at the kitchen table by myself with 8 paper bagged bottles and two big ass Riedel glasses. That already took some explanation to my daughter, who just didn’t get the whole blind tasting concept. And why Daddy is drinking from the same bags as the hobo down the street…
Third, I cannot imagine how people like Parker and James Suckling, etc. can keep their palate fresh and bright day after day. I was burnt after 8 wines in a row, but then again, I have not formally tasted in a long, long time. Ever since my good friend Jerry passed away, the monthly tasting groups we had have all but disappeared. Usually it’s getting together and opening whatever we’re in the mood for… and while there is deep contemplation, it is not the note taking, wine talking debauchery I once so enjoyed. Ahhh…
Fourth, I do not like cheap wines. Sorry, but they give me headaches and are just not enjoyable. That is not to say that I need to drink in the $20 and up range all the time, as my notes will soon reveal… Oooh… What surprises await from the first brackets??? However, I do want to drink good wine. Life is too short to drink crappy wine. Period.
Fifth, watch Mondovino. I am afraid that there is an overwhelming, global mentality sweeping the wine biz, where everyone is making basically the same wine to please the same scorers and to acheive the same monetary figures. This is sad. A wine from Loire should taste different from one from Burgundy and South Africa and Australia… the grapes should do most of the talking… the wine maker’s job is to interpret and showcase the grape and the terroir. That does not and should not discount the difficulty or skill of a master winemaker… Their style and take is very important… Obviously there are great winemakers and not so great winemakers… but making wine should not come at the expense of what is uniquely territorial and specifically varietal. My opinion.
The best chefs are those who take the flavors of the food… I mean the ACTUAL flavors of the food, to new heights and discoveries. But if a mushroom tastes like a banana, what’s the point.
Sixth, I love wine… and when you find a good bottle, it is like drinking poetry… You will remember it forever… Where you were, who you were with, what you did before and afterwards…
Wine, like music, brings people together. I dare you to pop open a Chateau Y’Quem and get into an argument or fight over the table. Really… try it… and make sure you invite me!