There were 24 empty wine glasses on my dining room table on Saturday night. 24 wine glasses for six of us to taste test four bottles of Shiraz ranging from a bottle I had on my wine rack (around $14) to a higher end $100 bottle.
For the most part, I know I can tell the difference between a $8 and $12 bottle of wine. If I'm really feeling like splurging, my favourite wine is a $17 Wolf Blass, but I usually buy wine around the $10-12 range. But I have long wanted to know if I could tell the difference between a $14 wine and a $50 or $100 bottle. And would it be worth it?
A casual mention around a campfire spurred a friend of mine into action and we rounded up a taste-testing party of people who would be willing participants in our experiment.
Truthfully, it wasn't difficult to find volunteers.
Andrew stuck to beer and scotch so he was Master of Ceremonies, delivering us a glass of each to taste and swirl and discuss over bread and local cheese (from Glengarry Fine Cheese).
Some of the party are true conoisseurs. Talk of lingering aroma of cherry, and aftertaste of dark chocolate, fruity undertones, and base notes. I just know what I like. But we all in the end were able to agree. The first wine was the best. I described it as friendly. The second was the worst. The third was lovely, but it took a while to grow on us and it wasn't until after dinner that we agreed it was a close second. The fourth was generally agreed to be good as well.
And when the labels on the four Shiraz bottles (all Australian, I should add) were uncovered:
#1: Two Hands - Samantha's Gate 2008 Clare Valley (South Australia) $56
#2: The Octavius - Yalumba 2004, Australia $100
#3: Red Belly Black - Angove's 2007, South Australia $15 (any local liquor store - my regular quaffing Shiraz)
#4: Pillar Box Reserve - Padthaway 2007, Australia $22
Personally, I was jsut thankful that the $100 bottle wasn't my favourite - weekends would have become a whole lot more expensive!