03/24/09 – March Madness week #7 (championship whites)

By Jesse on March 22, 2009

It’s on, folks. It’s completely on.

The time has come for the two-week championship finale of our second-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 several Winos are in good positions heading into championship play. However, as we learned last time, 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. Point totals are out of a possible 12.

Sasha Kopas – 8
Andrew Lang – 7.5
Jesse Porter – 7.5
Noah Verleun – 7
Marissa Marchioni – 5.5
Jason Meltzer – 4.5
Darren Earl – 4
Mahdroo McCaleb – 4
Vanessa West – 3.5
Five tied with 3
Eleven tied with 2
Nine tied with 1

We’ll be meeting at Jason’s nautically-themed apartment 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 your game faces on…. it’s time to battle for glory. See y’all on Tuesday at 9pm.