David L. Kahn Wine Tasting Club
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Wine Tasting Summary

Our original plan was to have a Canadian wine tasting this month. There are plenty of interesting wines produced in Canada, but (to our surprise) they are not generally distributed in Massachusetts. Apparently, Canadian wine doesn't really get the market attention here. As I looked for an alternative theme for our tasting, I decided to continue on the 'doesn't get any respect' concept and to taste blush wines. Blush wines have been featured in a number of wine newsletters and Web sites, and it seemed like it would be fun to see what was available.

General information on blush wines and links to related sites can be found at Drink Pink. In the list below, winery names are linked to their respective Web sites.
#28 Blush Wine pdf May 21, 2005
Year Producer, Selection From Variety Price * Score +
2003 Santa Julia, Syrah Rose Argentina Syrah $8.80 81
2003 Chateau D'Aqueria, Tavel Rose France Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Clairette $13.60 77
2001 Terre Rouge, Vin Gris D'Amador California Mourvedre (40%), Syrah (33%), Grenache (27%) $8.80 76
2003 Bonny Doon , Vin Gris de Cigare California Grenache (34%), Cinsault (25%), Mourvedre (19%), Counoise (12%), Syrah (8%), Viognier (2%) $10.40 74
1997 Beringer, Rose de Daignee California Pinot Noir (37%), Carignane (17%), Gamay (17%), Syrah (12%), Zinfandel (11%), misc (5%) $12.80 74
2003 Domaine Houchart, Cotes de Provence Rose France Grenache (40%), Cinsault (40%), Cabernet Sauvignon (5%), Syrah (5%) $7.20 73
The top-rated wine in this tasting, the Santa Julia, had the deepest color of the group. One taster felt it had some of the character of a red wine, but some of us downgraded it for its unpleasant finish. The Domaine Houchart, receiving the lowest score of the group, was described as 'wimpy' and 'worse than boxed wine'. In the words of one taster, the Chateau D'Aqueria 'didn't live up to its pink promise'. Overall, the color of each of these wines was quite appealing, running from a light pink to a deep pink. There was very little bouquet from any of them, and their flavor was generally weak and without character. These wines would be fine with a picnic or other social event, but would be disappointing if we were expecting a wine to complement a gourmet meal or to stand on its own.

At the end of the tasting, I brought out a very inexpensive ($3.99 on sale) bottle of 2003 Beringer White Merlot which had caught my attention last month. I was familiar with the ubiquitous White Zinfandel, but a White Merlot was an interesting idea that I wanted to try. Based on the price, I wasn't going to get my hopes up. This wine wasn't tasted blind like the rest, but the reaction was interesting. Most of us generally liked it, and a few of us thought it was the best in the tasting. It was clearly a young and not-very-complex wine. It was a bit sweeter than the rest. It had a delightful color, and it was pleasant from approach to finish. The fact that this very inexpensive wine wasn't significantly differentiated from the rest of the wines in our tasting told us a lot about the current state of blush wines on the market.

Featured Dessert: Homemade cookies (Brown Sugar/Walnut, Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Lemon Shortbread) served with Strawberry (pink!) Sorbet.
* The Price reflects the club discount for non-sale wines purchased at Kappy's Liquors in Sudbury and Grape Ideas in Wayland. 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.