04/06/10 – March Madness week #7 (championship whites)

By Jesse on April 6, 2010

It’s on, folks. It’s completely on.

The time has come for the two-week championship finale of our third-ever March Madness blind tasting tournament. For six weeks, we’ve tasted six of the world’s most recognizable varietals. Now it’s time for two rounds of balls-out championship play, in which we draw on what we’ve learned over the past six weeks in our efforts to be crowned the official Young Winos blind tasting champion. This Tuesday, we start with the whites.

In championship play, all bottles are “blind.” The white varietals we’ll be tasting are those that we’ve explored over the past six weeks: Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Chardonnay. For each of these varietals, we designated three regions where they’re well-made, and we tasted bottles hailing from these regions — as a result, these are the only permitted regions of origin for bottles in the championship rounds.

So, to review, you’ll want to bring one of the following nine wines:

Sauvignon Blanc
–from France (Loire Valley)
–from California
–from New Zealand
–from Germany
–from France (Alsace)
–from California
–from France (Burgundy)
–from California
–from Australia

Every bottle must show up in a brown paper bag. If you don’t have a brown paper bag, then hide the bottle under your shirt or something, and we’ll give you a bag when you arrive. You’ll write your name on the bag, and you’ll hold on to your bottle so that no one learns what it is. We’ll pour them one at a time, taste them in silence, submit our guesses, and reveal the bottles as we go. At the end of the meeting, points will be tallied.

Scoring: one point is awarded for guessing the varietal correctly. An incorrect varietal guess results in zero points. If you feel confident, you can also guess which of the three regions the bottle is from. A correct regional guess results in one additional point, but an incorrect regional guess results in the deduction of a half-point. (For example: if the bottle is a French Chardonnay, and that’s what you write down, you get two points. If you guess “California Chardonnay,” however, you only get a half-point.) Regional guessing is completely optional. Either way, you must get the varietal correct to win any points at all.

The regular season was a big success for some of our tasters, and I’m proud to say that I’m sitting in the #1 spot heading into championship play! However, as we’ve learned in the past, a dark horse can sneak out of nowhere and dominate the tournament with two strong showings in the championship rounds.

Here are the standings so far (thanks to Jason for the judicious point-tallying). Totals are out of a possible 12…

Jesse Porter – 10.0
Tara Hopkins – 6.5
Andrew Lang – 6.0
Jason Meltzer – 6.0
Andrea Sharples – 5.0
Vanessa West – 5.0
Scott Wadlow – 5.0
Adra Graves – 4.5
Jenn Evans – 4.5
Brian Tyminski – 4.0
Jessica Barraco – 3.0
Several tied with 2.5
Many more with 1.0, 1.5 or 2.0

We’ll be meeting at Nick’s new place in west LA. The RSVP system functions like this: if you want in, you click on this link and tell me so (don’t forget your full name, e-mail address, and a cute message conveying to me your intentions). Once you’ve gotten your confirmation e-mail, go out and find yourself a bottle of white wine per the varietals and regions listed above — or just bring a $10 donation, if you prefer.

Put on your game faces…. it’s time to battle for glory! See y’all on Tuesday at 9pm.