This article was published in The 30 Second Wine Advisor on Monday, May. 5, 2008 and can be found at http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/tswa20080505.php.
Bits and pieces
Suggestibility and wine tasting: In most wine competitions, judges are discouraged from sharing impressions on wines being rated, because the power of suggestion can be very strong. If someone in your tasting group tastes the wine and yells "licorice" or "wet dog," chances are that most everyone in the room will find the same thing. For similar reason, I try to avoid reading other published reviews or the wine's back label when I'm reviewing a wine.
This came to mind the other night as I was taking notes on today's first featured wine, the Signorello 2004 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon that came in this month's selection from California Wine Club's Connoisseurs' Series. It's a hefty, complex and well-balanced Napa Cabernet, and I was having a time sorting out a particularly elusive flavor element. Suddenly I inadvertently glanced at the fact sheet that came with the wine, and the description "root beer" jumped out at me. Naturally, once prompted, I couldn't think of anything else. I'm sure the description was valid - Charlie Olken, the expert behind Connoisseurs' Series, has an excellent palate. But I'd really rather figure it out for myself.
The moral of the story is simple: Don't read other people's tasting reports before you take your own wine notes. This is particularly true when you're tasting in the company of the wine maker or someone who sells the wine, who will often follow a natural tendency to talk up the wine, even if it's good enough to need no such support.
Wine Focus - Affordable Burgundy: For those who missed Friday's Wine Advisor, I wanted to highlight again our Wine Focus topic for May, in which we hope to solve the mystery of affordable Burgundy. We'll hope to zero in on - and share information about - some happy exceptions to the "Burgundy is expensive" rule. For purposes of this discussion, we'll set the bar at about $30 U.S. or Canadian dollars, or the approximate equivalent in other currencies.
It's easy to participate in Wine Focus: Find a good Burgundy for $30 or less. Taste it, then visit our online Wine Focus forum at
Today's second featured wine, Henri Perrusset 2006 Mâcon-Villages, is a particularly affordable white Burgundy, widely available in the $12 to $17 range and a benchmark style example of Mâon-Villages.
Another wine price poll: Thanks to all of you who participated in last week's poll on the maximum price you'd be willing to pay for a bottle of "everyday" wine. With good participation from WLDG and 30 Second Wine Advisor readers, we got almost 1,000 votes, with strong peaks in the $10 and $15 categories. Click to see last week's results:
Now we're following up with a related poll, asking the most you would pay for wine for a special occasion Again, Please take a moment to vote, using the old Voting Booth poll software. The greater the participation, the more meaningful the results.
Signorello 2004 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($45 retail; $40 per bottle for half or full case orders by Connoisseurs' Series members)
Very dark purple, glints of ruby against the light. Complex and earthy aromas, red fruit, cocoa, something like dusty, sun-baked clay and a hint of menthol. Good body and texture on the palate, tart berries and distant spice, and yes, something very much like root beer or sassafrass in the background. Oak is present but well integrated, it carries its 14.2% alcohol very well, and smooth but substantial tannins appear in the finish. Drinking nicely now, particularly with a good red-meat match like our pan-seared natural beef rib eye; but its tannic presence and good balance suggest potential for a decade's cellar time. (May 3, 2008) Winery Website: http://www.signorellovineyards.com (May 2, 2008)
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE: The Signorello Cabernet is part of this month's shipment in California Wine Club's Connoisseurs' Series and is available for additional orders by Connoisseurs' Series members. Call 1-800-777-4443 to join or learn more.
Henri Perrusset 2006 Mâcon-Villages ($12.99)
Transparent pale gold. Apples and a whiff of "wet stone" on the nose and palate, textured and tart, simple fruit and subtle minerality well balanced with mouth-watering acidity. U.S. importer: Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, Calif. (April 29, 2008)
FOOD MATCH: We got a little wacky and paired it successfully with old-fashioned salmon croquettes. For a more traditional match, look to poultry or freshwater fish.
VALUE: You'll be hard-pressed to find better White Burgundy at this low-end price. I seem to have found a deal, however, as comparative prices around the U.S. are typically in the upper teens.
WHEN TO DRINK: Freshness is a virtue, and it's best drunk up soon, but a couple of years in the cellar wouldn't hurt it and might impart a touch of richness.
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
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WebWineMan: Oysters on Parade!
WineBlueBook: Wines compared by score and price
WineLovers Discussion Group: Sharing those special bottles
Last Week's Wine Advisor Index
The Wine Advisor's daily edition is usually distributed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (and, for those who subscribe, the FoodLetter on Thursdays). Here's the index to last week's columns:
Wine Focus - Affordable Burgundy (May 2, 2008)
Organic favorite (April 30, 2008)
Recession, inflation (April 28, 2008)
Complete 30 Second Wine Advisor archive:
Wine Advisor FoodLetter: Pork chops Liègoise (May 1, 2008)
Wine Advisor Foodletter archive: