The November 2021 tasting was the same format as our May 2019 tasting, where the objective was to correctly identify the wine poured in each of our six glasses. Poured blind, and with four potential answers for both whites and reds, this is no easy task, as evidenced by our lackluster showing in previous attempts.

But this tasting resulted success across the table, with two tasters achieving perfect scores (six out of six), and the rest of the tasters correctly identifying four out of six -- an outstanding turnaround compared to past efforts. Both Jamie and Kristin's flawless scorecards are evidence of their keen ability to recognize aromas and flavors in domestic wines, and they deserve high praise for their achievement.

We were perhaps helped by the more overt characteristics of domestic wines, in comparison to their more nuanced Old-World counterparts, but it's also true that we're probably getting better at this task.

Ali & Andy's adorable daughter Chelsea was on hand this time to help select which six bottles to pour, as well as the reveal at the end of the night.

Wines are listed below in the order poured. No points awarded this time.

Photography by Andy.

Robert Mondavi Riesling Private Selection 2018 (California). Perhaps a slight bit of effervescence, with a very light color. Tasters found scents of light pineapple, white flowers, white grapefruit, wet river rock, pencil eraser, and a touch of minerality. Flavors included Bazooka bubble gum, lime zest, green apple, and an artificial/chemical finish. Plenty of acidity, but also plenty of fruit. Not full-bodied, with a silky texture. David noted that this was not completely dry. Everyone but Josephine correctly identified this one. About $18.

Edna Valley Vineyard Chardonnay 2019 (Central Coast). More yellow in color, and having aromas of stone fruit (mostly white peach), straw, and baked apples. Ali detected cat's pee. A little shy initially. Solid acidity had this bordering on tart, but there were oaky flavors of vanilla and spices as a counterpoint, plus popcorn and citrus. Most of us felt that it improved with air and temperature. Only Ali misidentified this one. About $15.

Cline Viognier 2020 (North Coast). Pineapple and other tropical fruit scents, plus candy, lily flowers, fruit cocktail, and pineapple upside-down cake. Full-bodied, with a spiciness to it, and that fruit cocktail note showing on the palate, along with pineapple, ginger, honey, and candied green apple on finish. Ali did not identify this one. About $11.

Mauritson Zinfandel 2014 (Dry Creek Valley). Aromas of oak, baking spices, vanilla, coffee, smoke, dark cherries, and blackberries. Plenty of fruit. Ali commented that it was "like an old friend." The alcohol stood out on this one, with a bit of a burn on the finish, but there was also plenty of black and red fruit flavors, plus cloves, star anise, and tobacco. Solid tannins and a decent amount of acid. Some felt that it had a little age on it. Jamie was reminded of "my dad's cherry vanilla pipe tobacco." Andy and David did not get this bottle correct. About $38.

Michael David Winery Petite Sirah Petite Petit 2019 (Lodi). Extremely purple and opaque, with a nose of baked fruit, cream, and lemon curd. Tannic in the mouth and very concentrated, showing flavors of figs, dates, and stewed dark fruit. High alcohol. Everyone got this correct. About $19.

Quilt Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (Napa Valley). Josephine detected a hint of broom flower on the nose, with others describing dried herbs, dust, talcum powder, and dried flowers. Exuberant palate, with plenty of fruit, but also showed some elegance, with a judicious amount of oak. Harmonious, having dark cherry flavors that were not overpowering, ending with a smoky finish. Kristin noted that "what it's doing is purposeful and pretty." Andy and David failed to identify this one. About $48.

The other choices, not poured blind as part of the six:

Chalk Hill Sauvignon Blanc Estate 2019 (Chalk Hill). Tropical, with high acidity, but a little touch of funk, this was bright, crisp, and refreshing, showing peach, green guava, mango, and lime zest notes. Also had a salty/briny/mineral quality. David really enjoyed this one. About $23.

Flâneur Pinot Noir 2017 (Willamette Valley). Lighter in color compared to the rest of the reds. Notes of bright cherries, earth, tobacco, mushroom, and forest floor. Pretty, with a pleasant bitterness. About $27.

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