04/13/10 – March Madness week #8 (championship reds)

By Jesse on April 10, 2010

Wine tasting doesn’t get much more intense than this.

Welcome to the second and final week of our big championship series in the 2010 March Madness blind tasting tournament! For six weeks, we tasted six of the world’s most recognizable varietals, both red and white, and last week marked our white wines championship round. This week, it’s red time, and we’ll all have to draw on what we’ve learned over the past six weeks in our efforts to be crowned the official Young Winos blind tasting champion — and to win the 2010 Booze Basket!

In championship play, all bottles are “blind.” The red varietals we’ll be tasting are those that we’ve explored over the past six weeks: Syrah, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon. 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:

Syrah / Shiraz
–from France (Rhone Valley — must be majority Syrah)
–from California
–from Australia
Pinot Noir
–from France (Burgundy)
–from Oregon
–from California
Cabernet Sauvignon
–from France (Bordeaux — must be majority Cabernet)
–from California
–from Argentina

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 Pinot Noir, and that’s what you write down, you get two points. If you guess “California Pinot Noir,” 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.

Last week saw some big point totals, some big surprises, and some big disappointments. Heading into the final round, I’m clinging to my once-solid hold on the #1 spot. Here are the current standings, according to our scorekeeper and statistician, Jason (totals are out of a possible 22 points):

Jesse Porter – 17.5
Scott Wadlow – 16.5
Jason Meltzer: 12.5
Vanessa West: 11
Tara Hopkins: 11
Adra Graves: 11
Many others with 10 and less

We’ll be meeting at Jason’s place in Brentwood. 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.