Some will argue tasting blind takes away the joy in wine. Others will claim the opposite. I’m one of them. Certainly there are the moments when you just want to enjoy a bottle and actually see the label, even if that affects your opinion. But then again, that’s probably a part of your intention, to create an atmosphere. Label drinking is not bad, I could get used to it but my wallet probably wouldn’t agree. Nor my wife.
A majority of my wine friends belongs to the curious wing. Eager to learn and yet humble. After all, blind tasting is not prestige as the critics claim, it is all about never losing perspective and staying alert. It’s ok to be sure the Napa Cabernet in your glass is a Bordeaux. It’s ok to think a Grand Cru Burgundy is a generic one only. Your palate and nose judges. No one else’s. The correlation between prestige and wine are more to be put on those who need the label.
Would your experience of a Domaine de la Romanée Conti, a DRC, be enhanced if you had the bottle in front of you? In my world, for sure. That is, both in a negative and positive sense. You might not analyze it as objectively as with a blind glass. But, there’s also a risk you would feel disappointment, creating an image the wine simply can’t live up to.
Two glasses blind in front of me. We’re quickly pretty sure of what’s in the glasses, regionally speaking. Vintage wise not. The first one explodes on the nose with pure berry scents, strawberries and cherries, flowers, integrated oak, some humus and herbal notes. The other glass is not as direct and flattering on the nose, there are layers in this one. Starting complexity. Darker berries, perfect oak, a slight green scent which is positive, roses and more mineral driven. For sure it’s Pinot Noir and I wouldn’t say no to any of them a Friday evening.
Again, the first glass is more straightforward than the second on the palate as well. But the flowery and quite seductive nose is a bit more firm now, cool fruit and elegant. The acidity is giving the wine it’s backbone but when unfolding there is also a slight green feeling. Still, nobody questions the over all balance of this one. It’s a beauty. 2004 is guessed.
The second glass has that structure which, after doing this for so many years, one recognizes as pure class. It’s firm as well, but with delineation and precision. One can taste that the person behind this one knows what he or she is doing. Cool red berries fruit here as well, some licorice, roses and slight compost. The acidity and fruit has a finer balance than the first glass. Still, also here a slightly greenish note which I kind of like – quite a lot. It brings such extra depth with our dish served. Sweetbread, gnocchi and porcini. The fat structure in the food is just what these two wines needed. The second glass finishes with a long, discrete intensity, you know, not brutal concentration or like a wine made for high points at tastings.
The theme – 2007 Romanée Saint Vivant – were revealed. Domaine Jean Jacques Confuron’s Romanée Saint-Vivant 2007 and DRC’s Romanée Saint-Vivant 2007 where the Confuron was poured in the first glass. Nobody guessed the vintage but now the second part of the blind tasting starts. The discussion. We’re talking about the typicity of the year, compared to the others mentioned. A very rewarding and educative sharing of experience. I would never have gained the same knowledge if drinking these two next to each other, viewing the labels. I would have lost the conversation and critical thinking. That however, doesn’t mean I always prefer a Confuron or DRC blind. After all, why should I restrict myself to that?
Want to taste any of the Romanée Saint-Vivants? After all, Christmas is around the corner and I know you’re looking for a bottle to treat yourself with during the holidays, when the kids finally have fallen to sleep. Use the wine-searcher tool on the right top of the page.