For the past 5 years, Vancouver’s South World Wine Society has been having a tasting in January called the “5 Nations Cup“. This January was the 5th competition. The premise of the event is that 5 white and 5 red wines are selected by the cellar master and the speaker at the event. The wines are all single varietals and are tasted blind by the attendees to the event. The speaker, Mr. Paul Watkin, tells people which varietals they will be tasting, and give them some ideas on the flavour and aroma profiles of each varietal. For example, if the wine was a Cabernet Sauvignon, the speaker would say that this varietal has a high level of tannins, the colour is usually very deep garnet in colour. It could have aromas of cassis, black cherries and mint or eucalyptus, depending on the region in the world where the grapes were grown.
Besides tasting the wines and making your guesses as to the varietal in each glass at your table, there is a competition to see who guessed the most right. Usually there are 2 people that guess the whites right, and 2 different people that guess the reds right.
At the end of the evening each person ranks their most to least favorite red and white wine. The speaker then compiles this information and the results are posted on the www.southworldwine.com website. The results are not yet posted, but when they are, I will update this web page.
Which wines did we taste for this blind tasting?
1. New Zealand – Moncellier Pinot Gris
2. Australia – Brokenwood Semillon
3. South Africa – Raats Chenin Blanc
4. Argentina – Catena Chardonnay
5. Chile – EQ Sauvignon Blanc
6. Chile – Chocalan Malbec
7. Argentina – El Escondido Bonarda
8. South Africa – Saxenberg Cabernet Sauvignon
9. Australia – Two Hands Shiraz
10. New Zealand – Allan Scott Marlborough Pinot Noir
It was very interesting to hear people’s theories of which varietal was in each glass. 100% of the people did guess the Pinot Noir correctly, but no other varietal was selected correctly by the entire group. There were 43 people tasting the wines. I was sure that people could guess the EQ Sauvignon Blanc as it had a classic herbal flavour and aroma with medium acidity, but was suprised how many thought it was one of the other wines.
One of the nice things about the tasting, is that people who drink only a certain wine, e.g. Shiraz, can get to try a Malbec, or a Bonarda, and maybe find out that they like it too. The Bondarda from Argentina is not a common varietal for most people, but after the reveal of the wines, there were many converts. This particular Bonarda (El Escondido Bonarda)had a light cherry and licorice aroma. Lots of cherry flavour with bracing acidity and spiciness. Quite refreshing. Paul also mentioned that Bonarda also can have a salt and pepper flavour to it. The New Zealand Pinot Noir was also very nice and stood out against the heavier reds, with it’s lighter red fruit, violets and earthiness.
We also had a Reception Wine before getting down to the serious business of tasting our flight of wines. This evening’s reception wine was the FAMILIA SCHROEDER Deseado Sparkling Torrontes – N/V from Argentina. This is the first sparkling Torrontes made in Argentina. Torrontes is very aromatic with stone fruit and citrus flavours. This one was made in an off-dry style.
If you missed the 5 Nations Cup, be sure to sign up again for the January 2011 tasting. Registration starts in December 2010. Also for those that attended and failed your wine test, please practice, practice, practice, and enjoy the practice!