December 31, 2010

C.R.O.W.N. 3

C.R.O.W.N. (Cheap Red or White Night) 3 was held September 25th. The theme this time was aeration: each bottle would be tasted with and without the benefit of our Vinturi wine aerator (which is supposed to open up red wines, very approximately the equivalent of one hour in the decanter, or one year in the bottle). The idea was to taste the difference between aerated and non-aerated wine from the same bottle.

How we did it: just before we started, I aerated half of each bottle into another clean bottle, and marked both the original and aerated bottles with the same number on a piece of masking tape. Then all ten bottles were bagged, shuffled randomly, and then given a letter A through J. So we had no way of knowing what we were tasting, whether or not they were aerated, or which wines were the same. (In fact, this was part of the fun, trying to guess aerated vs. non, and which were the same wines before and after.) Each couple brought one bottle costing no more than $30.

Now we come to the point where I have to confess that I lost the results. I know the page with the compiled results was in our living room the next morning, so it's not what you're thinking. I do have the list of wines tasted here, in order of overall scoring as I remember it:

1) Whistler The Black Piper GSM 2008 (Barossa, Australia) $30
2) Tinhorn Creek Cabernet Franc 2008 (Okanagan, Canada) $17.49
3) Seghesio Zinfandel 2008 (Sonoma, USA) $22
4) Renwood Zinfandel 2006 (Sierra Foothills, USA) $22
5) Summerhill Pinot Noir 2006 (Okanagan, Canada) $24.60

Some other notes from memory: the aeration did not always improve the wine's score. I wonder if this would have been different if we had stuck with meatier wines like Shiraz and Malbec, which tend to show the most difference from aeration. Also, in general wine scores did not change dramatically - either up or down - due to aeration. I think the Whistler Black Piper, for example, did well both aerated and not.

I really wish I had the full results, since most of us were quite surprised at the minimal effect the aerator had when tasting blind. We agreed that we might have to try this again to see if the results are the same. All in the name of scientific research, of course.

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