Monday, January 31, 2011

A Blind Tasting of Kermit Lynch Wines at East Beach Wine

The local shop East Beach Wine was hosting its weekly tasting, and this week's tasting was especially compelling. Six wines, blind, from various regions in France, all imported by Kermit Lynch. Not only is that a slam dunk as far as overall quality, it's also a challenging prospect as the selections are fairly diverse.

We were not going into this double blind, though. It was essentially single blind as we were given lists of varietals and regions to pair with each wine. The varietals were Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscat, while the regions were Bordeaux, Loire, Burgundy, Rhone and Beaumes de Venise.
  • 2009 Domaine Daniel Chotard Sancerre - France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Sancerre

    Melon, citrus, high acid, minerality, medium body.
    Guess: Loire/Sauvignon Blanc. Actual: Loire/Sauvignon Blanc.

  • 2008 Domaine Lucien Boillot et Fils Bourgogne - France, Burgundy, Bourgogne

    Floral, spice, mushroom, light/medium body, cranberry, pepper, slight cow pasture, linear flavor, mild tannin.
    Guess: Burgundy/Pinot Noir. Actual: Burgundy/Pinot Noir.
    Flavor and weight had potential as entry level Loire Cab Franc, but floral and spice aromas definitively pointed towards Burgundy. If Cru Beaujolais was a choice, though, it would have been a tougher call between Burg/Bojo.

  • 2008 Kermit Lynch Selections Côtes du Rhône - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône

    Jammy, lavender, low-acid, bitter finish, unstructured.
    Guess: Rhone/Grenache. Actual: Rhone/Grenache.
    Commented this tasted cheap relative to other wines in tasting; indeed it was. Definite pass, very mediocre wine.

  • 2008 Domaine les Pallières Gigondas Les Racines - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Gigondas

    Perfumed, medium/full body, medium/low acid.
    Guess: Rhone/Grenache. Actual: Rhone/Grenache.
    Very rich wine. Aromatics suggested Burg/Pinot at first, but flavors eventually pointed to a much warmer climate. Reminds me of how CA Pinot is often Grenache-like IMO--throw a full-bodied Cali Pinot in and I'm stumped!

  • 2007 Château Aney - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc

    Grass/bell pepper, dark fruit, earthy flavor, full body, medium acidity.
    Guess: Bordeaux, Cab Franc. Actual: Bordeaux, Cab Franc.
    This one was the most obvious red in the tasting. It had to be CF, and nothing else could have been Bdx. Bought it.

  • 2006 Domaine de Durban Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise

    Floral, honeyed, sweet, full body
    Guess: Beaumes de Venise/Muscat. Actual: Beaumes de Venise/Muscat.
    Had to be Muscat given the options. Figured a dessert wine appellation would be the odd man out, so we went with Beaumes de Venise.

Success! But without the list of regions this would have been an intractable problem. Cab Franc, Pinot and Grenache can be surprisingly similar if grown in similar climates (say entry level Chinon vs. Burgundy, or California Grenache vs. Pinot), so the appellation laws in France regulating variety were a big help assigning varietal to palate character I'd expect from a given climate.

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