June 20, 2019

MONTAUK WINE CLUB HOLDS FIRST CLUB CHALLENGE

Please join us tomorrow, August 19 at around 7:00 for fun and very important work as we move to round two of the Montauk Club Wine Challenge. And don’t forget, it’s also $10 Thursday, so plan to stay for dinner.The Club contestants will be the 2002 Schleret Riesling “Herrenweg” and the 2007 Cotes du Rhone Manarine.  The challengers are a secret….

Our July 15, 2010 meeting of the Montauk Wine Club marked the beginning of a new tradition – Club challenges!  Yes, that’s right; we’re bringing in challengers to the Club’s current wine list.  If the challenger prevails, we’ll look into gradually replacing the Club wine with the challenger.  This is how it worked in July.  We picked a white and a red from the Club’s wine list and compared each with a like varietal that sold at a similar retail price.  We then blind tasted each wine to see whether we could tell the Club wine from the challenger (just to keep our noses and palates honed), and finally, before revealing which was which, we voted for our favorite.  Here’s what happened:

We started by comparing the whites — one a Bordeaux and the other from Sonoma.  White #1 was pale and a bit foggy compared to the yellower and clearer color of White #2.  There was quite a difference in the nose and palate with White #1 being more astringent, with a strong aroma of grapefruit.  White #2 had some citrus aroma, but it was combined apricot and my favorite descriptor bubble gum.   White #1 didn’t have quite the strong grapefruit taste as its smell, but it definitely was tart with quite a bit of minerality showing through.  The lack of tartness in the smell of White #2 carried into the taste – rounder and smoother.  It seemed less complex and more balanced than its smell, however.  This was the kind of white that might pair well with any food with which you’d want a white wine, while White #1 seemed less versatile, screaming for a very fatty fish.  The minerality of White #1 led half the tasters to choose it as the Bordeaux while the other half thought the complexity of White #2 made it the Bordeaux.  Three-quarters of us preferred White #2.  So who one – the Club or the challenger?  White #1 was the Chateau la Rame Bordeaux Blanc, 2009 that is on the Club’s list, and the winner was a 2008 Chateau St. Jean Fumé Blanc from Sonoma Valley.

On to  the red challenge where we compared a Loire valley cabernet franc with a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  Red #1 immediately struck us a fuller-bodied wine, with a deep inky color and downright gooey legs.  We could almost see through Red #2.  So we were not surprised when we took a whiff.  Red #1 was more intense with notes of blackberries, raisins, bittersweet chocolate and a little pepper.  We loved the smell.  Red #2 was a shadow of Red #1, but we did discern some black fruits, plum and licorice.  We were a bit surprised, though when we got to the taste because Red #1 was tarter than we expected.  It definitely had its share of tannins and was actually chewy.  Red #2 tasted more like grape juice (take some to your next communion if you’re into that sort of thing).  It was simpler, lighter bodied yet reasonably balanced.  We thought this wine needed to be drunk with food, while Red #1 could stand on its own.  The verdict?  This time three-quarters of the tasters chose Red #1 as the Loire Valley and Red #2 as the Napa Valley perhaps because the tannins were so much more evident in Red #1, giving it an Old World feel.  Well, we were mostly fooled by that.  It turns out that Red #1 was the 2006 Franciscan Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, and Red #2 was the Bourgeuil “Ronsard” Petite Marie, 2006 that is on the Club’s Wine list.  The winner of the challenge was unanimous – the great big challenger!

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