A total of 25 wines (if I didn't miss any) were organized into several "flights" of two or three chosen for comparison; four were passed around in unidentified decanters for discussion before unveiling, a wine game that turned out to be fun because no one took it too seriously.
Rudi Pichler 1997 Wösendorfer Grüner Veltliner Federspiel - Green pea and mineral aromas and flavors, classic Grüner Veltliner.
Domaine de la Feuillade 1998 Saint-Veran Vieille Vigne - Crisp, appley, tart.
Domaine Laroche 1996 Chablis Grand Cru "Les Clos" - Shy nose, forward palate, steely and long. An interesting side-by-side comparison between a top Chablis that's elegant, refined, and still young, and an excellent California example of the same grape in an utterly different style. As a vinous Euro-phile, I want to declare the Chablis the clear winner, but can't really make that call; they're both fine.
Newton 1990 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - dark reddish-purple. Herbal, cedar, structured. Passed around "blind," I toy with the possibility that it may be Bordeaux and don't even come close to hitting the target.
Tom Eddy 1994 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - Chocolate fudge and sour cherries. Tannic, structured. Very good, very approachable wine, one of the top wines of the evening for me.
Murice 1997 Vina Ijalba Rioja Crianza - Perfumed berry fruit, balanced and complex. A good Rioja, and at a reported $15 retail, a good value.
Altos Las Hormigas 1999 Reserva Viña Hormigas Mendoza Malbec - Plummy, warm, tastes more interesting than the nose suggests and improves with time in the glass.
Altamura 1995 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - Cassis, oak and tannins. Good wine, but weakest of the three in this flight.
Kay Brothers 1997 Amery Vineyards Block 6 Shiraz - Black. Perfumed fruit, dill, big, structured and balanced. Served blind, I guess Australian right away. Penfolds Bin 707? Not a bad guess, but turns out to be more of a rarity by U.S. standards. My choice for best wine of the night.
Mondavi 1990 Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - This one fools everybody with its warm, plummy, roast meat and black pepper nuances. Someone says Cote-Rotie, and the stampede begins. It's got to be a Rhone! The disclosure stuns the group and demonstrates how there's nothing like a blind tasting to keep you honest.
Clos de Sainte Catherine 1989 Coteaux du Layon - Rich, pineapple and citrus.
Müller-Catoir 1992er Mussbacher Eselshaut Auslese Rieslaner - Full and textured, tropical fruit, mango and papaya.
Genaiserie 1996 La Roche Coteaux du Layon Selection des Grains Nobles - Pale and light, delicate, but suffers from comparison to the more intense wines in this flight.
Adolf Lötzbeyer 1990er Feilbingerter Königsgarten (Nahe) Riesling Eiswein - Intensely sweet, apricots, good acid balance.
Delgado Zuleta Monteagudo Pedro Ximénez - Inky mahogany; unctuous as motor oil. Stone fruits and raisins, sweet as syrup. Could literally serve as a topping over ice cream.
E-mail me your tasting notes,
and I'll consider adding them to this page.