03/27/07 – March Madness (Blind Reds)

By Jesse on March 26, 2007


It’s the final day of the March Madness challenge, the last chance to rise from tasting obscurity and claim this year’s championship title.  Also, there’s a prize… we haven’t discussed it at a meeting yet, but I would assume a $20 gift certificate to BevMo or Wine House would be appropriate, payable from the Young Winos donation fund.  We’ll discuss this particular point on Tuesday before the tasting begins, so anyone there at the beginning of the meeting can have a say in the prize selection.

Here are the current standings:

1.  Andrew (11)
1.  Jessica (11)
3.  Newsha (10.5)
4.  Emily (9.5)
4.  Jen (9.5)
6.  Sasha (9)
7.  Jesse (8.5)
8.  Nick (7.5)
9.  Daniella (6)
9.  Nick (6)

The final week is an entirely blind tasting consisting of the three reds (Syrah, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon) that we tasted over the past month and a half.  Players arrive with their wine in a neutral brown paper bag.  If the bag has markings, it will be switched with another bag to prevent cheating.  The brown paper bags will then be surrounded by a second plastic grocery bag — this will prevent detection of the shape of the bottle by tasters, as such a clue could be very useful in determining the varietal.  Once all the bottles are accumulated, they will be randomly poured by young winos in no pre-set order.  This means that players will not know when the wine that they brought is being poured.  Players will write down their guesses on the back of a piece of Jesse’s screenplay and submit them; the bottle will then be revealed, and points tallied.

Scoring: One point is awarded for guessing the correct varietal; no points deducted for incorrect guess.  Depending on how many people show up, a player could conceivably accumulate ten or twenty points in one meeting.  Here’s the twist: if a player wishes to guess the region in which the wine was made, they are free to do so.  Correct guess results in one extra point (i.e. a correct guess of “Syrah from California” gets two points).  An incorrect region guess, however, results in the deduction of one-half point when paired with a correct varietal guess (i.e. if it’s Syrah from California, and you guess Syrah from France, you receive only a half-point for your correct varietal guess).

For Tuesday night’s meeting, please bring any of the three reds we’ve tasted.  The only additional specification is that you should attempt to bring one from a region we tasted during that varietal’s meeting.  For example, they do a small amount of Cabernet in Italy, but if you bring an Italian Cabernet, no one’s going to guess it, so that’s no fun.  Therefore, try to stick to these regions:

–France (The Rhone, specifically Cote-Rotie, Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, or St.-Joseph)

Pinot Noir
–France (Burgundy)

Cabernet Sauvignon
–France (Bordeaux… see this lovely website for specific regions)

Be bold!  Pick a wine from Europe to add some degree of challenge to the meeting.  It’ll probably help you, also, because if we’re tasting majority California wines, and then a distinctly European one comes along, you’re gonna be like, “ah ha, maybe that’s mine,” and then you can take specious guesses which backfire and make you lose all kinds of points, a strategy with which I’m very familiar.

We’ll be meeting at Theresa and Joe‘s new place on the Miracle Mile.  Wrap your red in a brown paper bag, put on your tasting glasses, and bring your A-game.  It doesn’t get any bigger than this.  See you on Tuesday at 9 PM.