To fully understand this post we have to travel back in time on to the August 20, 2012 edition of Griffy on Wine. The story was called the Merlot Malay. I had a tasting with friends of three Merlot wines: Rotation, Chateau Ste. Michelle, and Toad Hallow. I liked the Toad Hallow and I was less enthusiastic about the other two.
On April 22, I got a comment on Griffy on Wine from Sam Jennings, who is the maker of Rotation wines. He also happens to have been the winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle too. So, in one post I had effectively said, “Boy is that an ugly dog, good thing you have that beautiful baby,” to the father of twins. Oops.
I went out and purchased the three Rotation wines varieties–Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay–to give them another chance. Josephine and I enjoyed the Chardonnay together with some fish and I thought it was a pretty good wine. I’m still finding my legs with whites, but I’d definitely drink this wine again.
The Merlot I shared over diner with some friends a week ago. I’m sorry to report it, but I still didn’t like the Merlot.
Last night I invited the same participants of the original tasting back in August. This was going to be the Cabernet Competition. This was a blind tasting. I confiscated each bottle as they came into the house. I wrapped each bottle in newspaper and numbered them. I left the list downstairs in my top secret wine bunker so even I wasn’t sure which wine we tasted.
The contestants were: Rotation, California, Quasar Reserva, Chile, Bodega Septima, Argentina and Montes, Chile. We’re going to talk more about Chile in a future post.
We each tried a one ounce sample. It was kind of crazy for a while. I then put the wines still in their newspaper jackets on the table and we started to eat. I started by compiling the results. Wine number one was the clear winner Rotation! I assure you no favoritism towards Sam. The Rotation received three out of seven top picks. Second place went to Bodega Septima. This was my top pick and one other joined me. The Montes and the Quasar each got one pick. The Montes was my runner up.
My overall impression of all four wines was they were ok, but none stood out, and none impressed. None had great color. They all seemed thin, too clear, too “watery.” Of the four, Rotation had the best color. I liked the Septim for the nose; it was the most inviting and warming. I confess we had some cheese that I hated, and I had to go across the room to get away from the smell before I could enjoy the wine. The nose on the Rotation was fair, while the other two were almost non-existent. I enjoyed the taste of the Bedege Septima the best too. It was fuller, had more body, and a better finish.
Over the next four to five hours we talked, we ate, we talked, and, yeah, we drank, until there were no survivors. All four bottles gave their full measure, so really, do you think we liked them or what? For me the evening was for Sam Jennings. Sam you did well, I hope you’ll write again. Second, I loved seeing my friends get into the tasting–they really did get into it–they took notes, they made comments, and they laughed. Robert Parker couldn’t have done better!