David L. Kahn Wine Tasting Club
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Wine Tasting Summary

Since this tasting featured six wines from Beringer, all of the information in our handout (including press reviews) came from the Beringer site.
#20 Comparing White Varietals pdf Jan 10, 2004
Year Producer, Selection From Variety Price * Score +
2002 Beringer, Chenin Blanc California Chenin Blanc $5.60 92
2002 Beringer, Pinot Grigio California Pinot Grigio $5.60 83
2000 Beringer, Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc California Sauvignon Blanc $10.40 83
2000 Beringer, Alluvium Blanc, Knights Valley California Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier $13.60 83
1998 Beringer, Napa Valley Chardonnay, Private Reserve California Chardonnay $32.00 83
2000 Beringer, Napa Valley Chardonnay California Chardonnay $12.80 79
This tasting was intended to highlight the differences between white varietals, particularly as paired with food. Starting last year, we've provided food with our January tasting so we can see the effect of food on the wine tasting experience. Our menu this year was grilled chicken (brushed with truffle olive oil and a little curry for grilling), roasted potatoes, onions and carrots and some steamed broccoli. Homemade mango chutney was served to accompany the food.

I decided to select some very different whites from a single vineyard to give us a good basis for comparison. Some low-cost selections and a premium selection were included. Overall, we liked all of the wines in this group. The Chenin Blanc, one of the least expensive wines in this tasting, was a unanimous favorite by a large margin and went particularly well with the chutney. The color of the more expensive Chardonnay was much deeper than the rest, and many of us correctly guessed the identify of this wine correctly. We also noticed that the two least expensive wines had the palest color.

One of our members brought a bottle of Charles Shaw Sauvignon Blanc ($3/bottle at Trader Joe's) to the tasting, and I decided to include it informally. It was served as #7, but excluded from the formal judging. The tasters were asked for their general opinion of #7, and for their guesses as the the variety based on comparison with the varieties in our tasting. Four of us knew the identity of #7, but it was completely blind for the other participants. I was looking forward to seeing the results, since this label has received a lot of good press lately. Unfortunately, as a group, we weren't impressed. None of us could find similarities between this wine and the Beringer Sauvignon Blanc, and no one guessed the variety correctly. Several of us felt the wine had an 'off' aroma and flavor, and several people guessed that it was a non-grape wine. Had it been rated, it would have been the lowest scoring wine in this tasting.
* The Price reflects the club discount for non-sale wines purchased at Kappy's Liquors in Sudbury and Wine Cellars of Silene in Waltham. Any purchases at the club price must be coordinated through me.
+ The Score represents the average rating of the group at this tasting, on a scale from 50 to 100. We each assign a value of 0-4 for appearance, 0-6 for aroma, 0-6 for flavor and 0-4 for our overall impression resulting in a total score from 0-20. These are averaged, the result is multiplied by 2.5 and then 50 is added. The resulting 50-100 scale is the same range used by Wine Spectator though their process may be different.