Report from the Unofficial Blind Tasting World Championship
  • Now back from Bordeaux, the Danish team of Peter, Asbjørn and Thor have sent us their report on the unofficial World Championship in Blindt Tasting, held by La Revue du Vins de France.

  • They qualified by winning the unofficial Danish Blind Tasting Championship, held every year by Vinakademiet and Gastro.

  • On DM Blindsmagning you can stay updated and sign up for next year's competition with your own team! 

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  • Here is their tasting report: 

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  • Wine 1:

  • The power and autolytic character made any guess other than champagne a bold call. But wavered on chardonnay or pinot dominated, costing us dearly.  

  • Guess: Pinot Noir (majority), France, Champagne, Deutz, 2012.
  • Right Answer: Chardonnay (blanc des blancs), France, Champagne, Ayala "Le Blanc des Blancs", 2013
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  • 2:

  • Truly odd and perfumed nose and low acidity. Something felt familiar, but it had none of the tell-tale signs of gewurztraminer aside from the flabby structure. With air and warmth over 10 minutes, the wine showed viognier notes of peach and stale flower water, and mistakenly we overlooked an obvious chasselas character. 

  • Guess: Viognier, France, Condrieu, Yves Cuilleron, 2018
  • Right Answer: Fendant (Chasselas), Switzerland, AOC Valais, Fabienne Cottagnaud, 2017
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  • 3:

  • Chardonnay was our grape guess - few other varietals show this much poise after oak use. However, we mistook the generous, buttery character of the aged Meursault for overseas and ended up in a younger, fairly cool climate US chardonnay. 

  • Guess: Chardonnay, USA, Sonoma Coast, Robert Mondavi, 2017
  • Right Answer: Chardonnay, France, France, Meursault, Buisson-Chables, 2012
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  • 4:

  • This guess was the mistake of a lifetime and I dread having to admit we misidentified an Amarone as a US pinot. Just bury me right now. To make matters worse, the pinot guess was actually a last minute change from an even worse guess. We were just way off on this, no excuses.

  • Guess: Pinot noir, USA, Sonoma Coast, Kistler, 2015
  • Right Answer: Corvina etc., Italy, Amarone della Valpolicella, La Dama, 2015

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  • 5:

  • Some Chateauneuf producers manage to wring out cool, earthy aromas and silky texture from grenache - even at 15-16% alcohol. I tip my hat to them. Janasse is one among them together with Beaucastel and, naturally, Rayas. This 2000 Chateauneuf performed like a rustic Hermitage. Grenache was discussed, but gut feeling said Northern Rhone.

  • Guess: Syrah, France, Hermitage, Cave de Tain, 1990
  • Right Answer: Grenache etc., France, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Domaine de Janasse, 2000
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  • 6:

  • This shiraz and cab blend was a compact powerhouse at a stage of development where it becomes difficult to differentiate from any other modern, oaked wine. While jammy and compact, we felt a coolness that brought us back to a Ribera del Duero guess, unfortunately.

  • Guess: Tempranillo, Spain, Ribera del Duero, Valduero, 2017
  • Right Answer: Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon, Australia, South Australia, Penfold's "Bin 8", 2017
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  • 7:

  • This is any blind taster's nightmare. To make a guess on one wine and then not dare to reuse that guess with the next wine, where the guess would have been correct. A rather powerful and young wine, but showing class and tightly knit boysenberry fruit that led to a merlot guess. 

  • Guess: Merlot, France, St. Emilion, Troplong Mondot, 2017
  • Right Answer: Tinto Fino (Tempranillo), Spain, Ribera del Duero, Picaro del Aguila, 2017
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  • 8:

  • Last of the 8 initial wines, this was a walk in the park. Mosel vs. rest of German rieslings is comparable to Chablis vs. rest of Burgundy. Always more linear in its limefruit zestiness and structure. The low alcohol (around 7.5% presumably) and residual sugar made it an obvious Mosel spätlese guess.

  • Guess: Riesling, Germany, Mosel, Zilliken, 2018 
  • Right Answer: Riesling (spätlese), Germany, Mosel, Van Volxem "Bockstein", unknown vintage in the 2010s
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  • The results were revealed by the impeccably dressed head of the competition, Philippe de Cantenac. Sadly, Denmark was not among the teams qualified for the final, and the first world cup victory for a Danish team in many years was out of the window. Needless to say, we were devastated over the missed opportunities throughout the blind wines. Correct main grape is where you rack up points, and there were too many lost on unfocused guesses.

 

  • This was not our day. You can always blame the quality of the wine or the lighting in the room, but these factors are equal for all and are pointless to dwell on if you want to grow and improve as a team. In our case, we felt we had prepared correctly, shown consistency, but ultimately fell short of a performance we can be proud of.

 

  • Congrats to the top 3 - France, China and Finland/Spain on a shared 3rd place.

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  • Wines of the final:

  • 1: Chardonnay, New Zealand, Marlborough, Ata Rangi, 2016

  • 2: Pinot Noir, USA, Santa Cruz Mountains, Birichino "Lilo Vineyard", 2014

  • 3: Merlot etc., France, St. Emilion, Valandraud, 2012

  • 4: Scheurebe, Austria, Neusiedlersee, Schilfwein, unknown producer 1998

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