04/01/09 – March Madness week #8 (championship reds)

By Jesse on April 1, 2009

It’s time for glory or death. (Death and glory… those are your only choices. Which is it gonna be?!!!???!)

It’s the final week of our our second-ever March Madness blind tasting tournament. For six weeks, we’ve tasted six of the world’s most recognizable varietals, followed by last week’s round of championship whites. Now it’s time to taste the reds, drawing on what we’ve learned over the past six weeks in our efforts to be crowned the official Young Winos blind tasting champion.

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.

The regular season was a big success for some of our tasters, but everything changed after last week’s white wine championship round. Here are the current points leaders:

Andrew Lang – 22.0
Sasha Kopas – 20.5
Jesse Porter – 20.0
Noah Verleun – 19.0
Jason Meltzer – 18.5
Marissa Marchioni – 12.5
Nick Scown – 10.5
Kristen August – 9.0
Darren Earl – 8.5
Lily Stofman – 8.5
Liz Kelly – 8.0

Assuming we get ten or more bottles, contestants have the chance to score as many as twenty or more points in this round of play. Even if you’re not on the list above, you’re still in the game!

Weather permitting, we’ll be meeting on the patio of the vacant apartment below Wino HQ in Sherman Oaks. (It may be a tad chilly as it gets late, so bring something warm.) The RSVP system functions like this: if you’d like to attend, click on this link and tell me so. Once you’ve gotten your confirmation e-mail, go out and find yourself a bottle of red wine per the varietals and regions listed above — or just bring a $10 donation, if you prefer.

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