In “nice wines finish last,” the expensive wine earned the top spot in our Friday Night Blind tasting, as you might expect. And the cheapest bottle brought up the rear—albeit with respectable and consistent scoring that barely gave the pricier wines an edge. The following week’s tasting, “pricey wines finish last,” produced the counter-intuitive result that visitors of this website love: the $36-a-bottle ringer scored a distant fourth place to three wines that cost a third of that or less.
The theme of the next Friday Night Blind was crisp white wines—in honor of the unofficial start of summer—and the Wine for the Rest of Us tasting panel sampled four wines made from the same grape variety but from four different countries. As always, brown bags covered the wines and tasters did not know the grape or the countries of origin, though they were aware of the one-grape-four-countries gimmick.
The tasters almost universally praised its balance of fruit and tanginess (acidity) and many liked the citrus flavors that were not as intense and grassy as many New Zealand sauvignon blancs from the famed Marlborough region. Users of CellarTracker.com seem to agree with our tasting panel, giving the wine an average score of 88 points in their generally stingy community tasting notes.
The most expensive wine of the four, Mulderbosch Western Cape Sauvignon Blanc 2011, from South Africa, earned the same average score (2.63 stars) as the other super inexpensive wine in the tasting, Concho Y Toro Casillero del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc 2012. Mulderbosch is on sale at Rodman’s DC for $14.99 (where we purchased it), marked down from $22.99 a bottle, and a Schneider’s of Capitol Hill for $19.99, regularly $21.99. (CellarTracker.com users also give it an average of 88 points.) Casillero del Diablo (received as a winery sample) is the ubiquitous label from Chile you’ll find all over town for $9 to $12 a bottle, but it’s currently on sale at Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits for $6.99.
The Casillero del Diablo label has been finding its way into many of our Friday Night Blind tastings—thanks to copious samples—and the inexpensive label made by Concho Y Toro—the largest wine producer in Latin America—is proving to be a reliable performer.
* Yuk, where’s the spit bucket?
** Drinkable, but I don’t need another taste, thanks. …
*** I like this, please fill my glass.
**** I love it; I’d buy a bottle if it’s less than $20.
***** This one’s a ringer; what’s this $35 bottle doing at this two-bit tasting?
A quarter of our tasting panel gave it only 1 or 1.5 stars, while a couple tasters awarded 4 stars. “Very nice, fruity but not too sweet,” wrote one, praising its balance. “Smooth, not fruity,” wrote another, “would be good with dinner.”
Dinner sounds good to us right about now. But since it’s almost time for another Friday Night Blind, maybe just some wine and cheese.
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