The SOMM Journal

February / March 2017

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Page 46 of 116

46 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017 Allyson Gorsuch, Advanced Sommelier and Deputy Editor of The Somm Journal, and Eduardo Bolaños, Advanced Sommelier and Sommelier at Terroni, Los Angeles. Chris Miller, Master Sommelier and owner/ winemaker for Seabold Cellars, and Karen Moneymaker, Certified Sommelier and Senior Editor of The Somm Journal. WITH SO MUCH EMPHASIS being placed on sommeliers today for testing and structured tasting, we here at The Somm Journal decided to roll up our shirt - sleeves and dive into the world of blind tasting, pairing two sommeliers from our team—Allyson Gorsuch, Deputy Editor and Advanced Sommelier, and Karen Moneymaker, Senior Editor and Certified Sommelier—with Master Sommelier Christopher Miller and Advanced Sommelier Eduardo Bolaños. Guided and grilled by the erudite Christopher Miller, MS, here is what we unearthed in our third tasting. For this round, we decided to focus on the white wines of this flight (partly because one of the reds was corked— such is life). While we tasted through the grid on these wines, below is an abbrevi - ated snapshot of what was called. Descriptors called: Nose: Mandarin, kiwi, grapefruit, yellow grapefruit, papaya, pyrazines, cilan- tro, jalapeño, parsley, white flowers, acacia Palate: Lemon pith, mandarin, yellow and pink grapefruit, guava, parsley, carnation, slate/gravel soil, no oak Structure: Medium-plus alcohol, medium-plus body, medium-plus acidity Conclusion: New World, Sauvignon Blanc, USA, California, Santa Barbara, 2015 Reveal: Wither Hills 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand Descriptors called: Nose: White peach, honeysuckle, baking spice, cardamom, lime blossom, cabbage Palate: Ruby grapefruit, key lime, white peach, gooseberry, green bell pep- per, cabbage, honeysuckle, this wine has spent some time in oak Structure: Medium plus alcohol, medium plus body, medium plus acidity Conclusion: Old World, Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend, France, Bordeaux, Graves, 2013 Reveal: Grgich Hills Estate 2015 Miljenko's Selection Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley Chris Miller's comments: "The weight in wine number two is from residual sugar, and typically you wouldn't find winemakers in California leaving RS in Sauvignon Blanc. This is a more typical practice in New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. A great indicator for California SB is peaches, which you see in wine number three." Lesson: New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc gets its weight from residual sugar left in the wine, whereas most California Sauvignon Blanc is weightier due to ripeness of fruit. The weight in Bordeaux comes from Sémillon in the blend and/or the use of neutral barrel. Distinguishing the difference leads to the correct final conclusion. { the blind side } In this ongoing series, we will explore the tropes of blind tasting, identify pitfalls that sommeliers often fall into and highlight the classic identifiers of grape varieties, regions and style. Lessons from the Grid story and photos by Karen Moneymaker Descriptors called: Nose: Lemon zest, lime and white flowers Palate: Confirmed citrus and floral notes, added stony minerality and green apple Structure: Medium alcohol and medium plus acidity Conclusion: Old World, Chardonnay, France, Burgundy, Chablis, 2013 Reveal: Louis Jadot 2012 Chablis, France Chris Miller's comments: "Glad you got here, but your description didn't scream Burg—it was more 'generic light white.' You didn't pick up on (or call) the slight roundness on palate, which is a giveaway for light malo and/or neutral oak, lees stirring." Lesson: Even if you think you know what the wine is the moment you stick your nose in the glass, you have to go through the grid and hit the points. Also, be sure to pay atten- tion that when you taste on your own you aren't sticking to only one quality level. While for practical knowledge it is important to know the high-end wines on your list and be able to speak to the category, it is also important to be able to distinguish the difference between quality levels. For example, Grand Cru Chablis can have oak; Premier Cru always has body—"Crème fraîche is a marker for me," notes Gorsuch. This village-level Chablis was medium in intensity of aromas, not overtly complex. WINE # 1 WINE # 2 WINE # 3

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