The tasting titled "One of these things is not like the others" manifested itself on a few levels:
One was white, three were red
One was sparkling, three were still
One was from France, three were from New York state
Three were made from grapes you've heard of and want to drink, one was not
One of them was less pleasurable (read: sucked) while the rest were very enjoyable
This tasting, organized by Ali and Andy, and held in their backyard, was a little different from the normal format, and was full of surprises for all tasters. They deserve much praise for hosting, providing the wines, taking notes, and (most importantly) for washing the wine glasses.
The Lenz Winery Merlot Old Vines 2001 (North Fork of Long Island). This wine had aromas of blueberries, licorice, ink, wet stone, and clay. There was a resounding "ahhhhh……" when the tasters put their noses to the glass. David described it as inviting, while Andy took it a step further and said he wanted to hang out with this wine. We also noted that it smelled like smokeless campfire and tobacco. Gilles boldly announced, "New world." Tasters noted peppers on the mid-palate and fruit on the finish. We all agreed this was a smooth wine. The finish was described as refined – "like they were expecting you." Joyce wanted to curl up with this and drink it on its own. Joyce and Ali had a strong affinity for this wine. About $40.
Rooster Hill Vineyards Lemburger 2007 (Finger Lakes, NY). "Ewwww…." and marijuana were the most common descriptions for this wine. David put on his game face and pressed on with descriptions like: "sharp, no fruit but at the same time, cherries (with flies on it)". Kristin thought it tasted like sour milk, "but had character….the kind of character that makes you an unpopular chap – and if you didn't invite this particular character to a party, it would be ok and people would understand". Joyce thought this wine would pair well with spicy rabbit pate. Gilles thought this might be French and thought it might be a morbier. We moved quickly onto the next glass with final thoughts from Kristin – "I'd rather just smoke this." About $15.
Chateau Margaux Pavillon Rouge 2001 (Margaux). Lavender, nasturtium, poppy and vanilla were all noted. Tasters agreed that this was the softest wine of the tasting – in fact, Gilles thought there was nothing sharp about it. Some mentioned that it was flat but in a nice, consistent way. Andy described it as "Obama-calm". We disagreed, however, on this wine's level of maturity – some thought it was the oldest bottle of the tasting and some thought it was the youngest. Gilles and David had a strong affinity to this wine. Gilles described it as a "Happy Birthday" wine. About $40.
Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars Sparkling Riesling (Finger Lakes, NY). Tasters noted flavors of tangerine and clementine, along with pineapple, clove, and red and yellow gummy bears. We all really enjoyed this, especially Joyce. About $15.
In the end, Joyce, Gilles, and Andy preferred the Chateau Margaux; David and Ali preferred the Lenz Merlot; and Kristin couldn't decide so she chose the sparkling Riesling.
AUGUST 2009: ONE OF THESE THINGS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHERS