05/23/12 – March Craziness week #6 (championship reds)

By Jesse on May 20, 2012

The time has come for the second half of our two-week championship finale of our fifth semi-annual March-adjacent pseudo-sports-themed blind tasting tournament. For the past four “March Craziness” meetings, we’ve clawed our ways through challenging and diverse matchups of similar and/or frequently-confused wines. Now we’re in the middle of two rounds of balls-out championship play, in which we draw on the blind-tasting skills we’ve picked up over the last few weeks (as well as the palates we’ve developed over years of drinking) in our efforts to be crowned the official Young Winos blind tasting champion. Last week, we blind-tasted white wines, and this Wednesday we move on to the reds.

The three varietals we’ll be tasting on Wednesday night are Syrah, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon. 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 stash it in thekitchen  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 whether the bottle is “old world” (i.e. Europe) or “new world” (anywhere outside of Europe, i.e. North or South America, Australia, South Africa, etc.). A correct regional guess results in an additional half-point, but an incorrect regional guess results in the deduction of a half-point. (For example: if the bottle is a French Cab, and you write “Cabernet, old world,” you get 1.5 points. If you guess “new world Cabernet ,” 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 Prize!  Our 2012 March Craziness champion will win his or her choice between a pair of excellent and age-worthy bottles from the Young Winos stash: the 2006 Talley “Oliver’s Vineyard” Chardonnay (Edna Valley), delicious and well-balanced, and the 2004 Azamor “Selected Vines” red blend (Alentejo, Portugal), rich and spicy.  Our reviews of the two bottles can be found here and here, respectively.

The regular season was a big success for those who attended regularly, and I’m proud to say that I’m sitting in the #1 spot heading into the final round of championship play! However, as we’ve learned in the past (most recently in 2010, when I was also leading heading into the finals), a dark horse can sneak out of nowhere and dominate the tournament with a strong showing in the championship rounds.

Wednesday night’s meeting will be held at Andrew and Rachel’s place in Echo Park, and spots will be assigned on a first-come-first-poured basis. 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), and I’ll send you a confirmation e-mail with the address. Once you’ve received your confirmation, go find an interesting bottle of Syrah, Pinot Noir, or Cabernet — or, as always, simply bring ten dollars. See you on Wednesday at 8pm.