One of our common rituals is to enjoy a nice glass of wine with friends. Brian doesn’t actually take part, but his culinary background allows him to educate us in the fine art of wine tasting. Recently, we decided to kick it up a notch and start recording our thoughts on these wine tastings so I started to research different wine tasting forms to see what works best.
First, we started out with a basic form offered by Wine Country Getaways that also provides other resources to throw your own wine tasting party. While it was a simple form to fill out, there wasn’t much structure to the form that would make it a good one to use in comparison over time to other wines. So next, I came across this detail form featured on the Wine Lover’s page that scientifically rates the wine on a 20 point scale based on 12 questions. The only down side is that it requires focus and a little more time to fill it out completely. So they also offer this simple form that provides good questions to discuss during a wine tasting. Another good wine tasting sheet that I have come across is featured on the De Long Wine Info site that provides visual pictures plus all you have to do is circle your preferences.
Last night we tried two different wines. The first one was a 2004 Shiraz from the Sterling Vintner’s Collection, which is described on the vineyard’s website as:
[A] Shiraz [that] strikes the nose with powerful combination of intense dark fruit, liquorish, cocoa powder and nutmeg followed by round fruit-driven tannins on the palate. Raspberry and black currants linger on the tongue providing a smooth middle and long, lasting finish highlighted by gentle vanilla impressions. Rich in flavors and smooth in body, it holds up to sturdy dishes such as a grilled rib eye or rich pasta carbonara.
Based on the 20 point scale, I rated this wine a “16″ and noted that it was a dry wine with a deep bouquet. Micheal, on the other hand, gave it a 15.75, and noted that if it was just a little less sour that it would be really good.
Our second wine of the evening was brought by our good friend, George, an intriguing labeled entitled “Vampire“. Another red, but a 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon this time, which is noted on the vineyard’s website as:
Vampire Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from several small-berry clones of this traditional Bordeaux varietal, grown in the Paso Robles region of California’s Central Coast. Classic, small-lot fermentations, followed by aging with both European and American oak, gives full expression to the rich varietal flavors in this wine. Judiciously blended with small amounts of Merlot for softness, and Syrah for added structure, our Cabernet displays ripe flavor character and a lovely aroma that will continue to develop with additional time in bottle.
This time we were slightly more conservative in our ratings with my rating at 15, Michael at 14.5, and George at 13. While an overall good wine, it lacked a distinct bouquet and the aroma was only slight. I suppose the label “Vampire” was misleading as it inspires images of a deep, rich wine that this variety just didn’t live up to. However, as we’re finding out, never judge a wine by it’s label.