POPSUGAR Food

The Label Project: Guessing the Varietal and Region of 3 Mystery Wines

Oct 2 2012 - 6:34am

We've tried quite a few bottles of wine [1], so when an organization called The Label Project [2] reached out to us to participate in a wine tasting challenge, we readily accepted. The rules were simple: we received a shipment of three crates, each containing a different bottle of wine and written and physical clues as to its varietal and country of origin. Take a look at the clues we received and our experience discerning the varietals and region where the grapes were grown.

Photos: Nicole Perry

Wine #1

The first wine we tried was a white wine, and its clue cards had tasters split between Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. Those who guessed Chardonnay thought the sharp, oaky white was grown in Washington or California, while those in the Pinot Grigio camp surmised that Italy was the origin of this astringent, lip-puckering wine.

Wine #1

Three aroma spritzers aided by highlighting the principal aromas of this particular wine. "Honeydew melon" and "lemon" were most recognizable, but we scratched our heads at aroma #3, which we assumed was intended to be representative of the wine's "creamy" characteristic.

Wine #1

As a devoted Chardonnay fan, I recognized this wine's varietal from a mile away. The buttery, roasted scent and flavor clinched it. As a team, the YumSugar editors guessed that this bottle was from either Washington or California.

Wine #2

The second wine was a deep, bold red, and the clues had us leaning toward Napa, CA. It was very tannic with a pronounced berry flavor, so most tasters were convinced that it was a Cabernet Sauvignon, but a few guessed Zinfandel due to its peppery, jammy qualities.

Wine #2

Dark chocolate tiles were given as a second clue and helped highlight the wine's chocolatey characteristics, as well as being a satisfying pairing.

Wine #2

Due to its full body; intense stone-fruit flavor; and dry, tannic finish, the YumSugar editors guessed that this bottle was a Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa, CA.

Wine #3

Lighter-bodied than the second wine, the third had a smooth, black currant flavor, minimal tannins, and no detectable oakiness. Balanced and light, most guessed that this was a Shiraz from Australia. Because it was so light for a red wine, I guessed it was a Pinot Noir from New Zealand.

Wine #3

Included were pictures of the climate, which showcased flat terrain and unique soil that undoubtedly contributed to this wine's terroir. Due to the lack of trees and the dry appearance, many guessed Australia was the country of origin.

Wine #3

While I was the black sheep of the group, the YumSugar editors guessed that this bottle was a Shiraz from Australia.

The Revelation

In one of the most clever PR ploys, the wines, as it turns out, are all from Australia's Jacob's Creek Winery [3]. At first we were disappointed that the mystery wines weren't from around the world, but it was still a fun exercise that challenged our discerning palates. At roughly $15 per bottle, these reserve wines are an exceptional value, and we greatly enjoyed the label project as an exercise in "look[ing] beyond the label."

The Revelation

Wine #1:

Wine #2:

Wine #3:


Source URL
http://www.yumsugar.com/food/Label-Project-Wine-Tasting-25189295