It is now a tradition that the WING December Tasting takes the form of a Call-My-Wine-Bluff Quiz. An idea borrowed from Perkins Restaurant. You can scroll back a year – or two – to see the previous WING results or any of 3 Perkins reports from June 2014, October 2015 or October 2016.

Here are my notes for this year:

The first round was Towels-on-the-Sun Loungers (Germans in other Countries).
This wine had a citrus first nose, leading to some softer fruit – peach? Palate has a striking but rounded acidity, giving freshness and linearity. Enjoyable and good aperitif quality.
But was it: an Alsace Sylvaner? A Sud-Tirolian Kerner? Or a English Bacchus made by Camel-Valley?
The acidity- is the key to this – citric rather than apple-ish (Sylvaner) or nettley (English). So one of the easier to get right…

The second round was Rhone-Style Whites  (Ranging whence?)
This wine shows peach fruit and a whisper of floral hints. The palate is mineral yet warm, showing fruit and a herby twist – quite big and involving…
But was it: the real thing, a Vacqueras Blanc? A Californian version? Or a blend from South Africa?
Quite food friendly – so one might plumb for the French – I think the US wine would be much bigger. But this has a good balance… so who knows?

WING members (including eventual winner Rob - 2nd from Left) contemplate wine B

WING members (including eventual winner Rob – 2nd from Left) contemplate wine B

The third round was Anything But Burgundy              ([relatively] ‘Restrained’ New World Chardonnays ).
Citrus and a deeper melon, shading towards peach, with gentle oak influence giving bready notes. The palate is warm, lively, creamy, with a sweet tinge to the fruit which gives way to a pithy imprssions. Long, balanced and very good, and although quite New World it does have some Burgundian character….
But was it a Cloudy Bay from New Zealand? Hamilton Russell from South Africa? Or Au Bon Climat from Santa Barbara in California?
These are three good Burgundy inflected New World Chardonnay options, although having tasted all three  in the past I think the Cloudy Bay would show more oak, and the South African rounder acidity, but a close run thing.

The fourth round was Never-Mind-The-Banking-Crisis (Cheerful Italians?)
Slightly earthy first note with plum and cherry notes. Palate is drying with baking spice hints (liquorice, vanilla, cardamom…) and plummy fruit, that finishes quite quickly, but has clean acidity, warmth and a (Southern?) softness.  Good
But was it a mostly Refosco, Masi, wine from Fruilli? A Perricone wine from Sicily? or a Teroldego from Trentino?
I think the warmth in this wine points further South than the other options…

The Bluffers reveal....

The Bluffers reveal….

The fifth round was Anything but Bordeaux (Claret Copies) 
A very claret nose (although more Right Bank, with plum notes). The palate is more Cabernet: drying, cedarish but opening to cool forest fruit and then a subtle long ending.
But was it: a Super-Tuscan from Bolgheri? A Moss Wood blend from Margaret River, W. Australia? Or a Hawkes Bay offering from New Zealand?
The coolness and the subtlety of the long complex finish point to an Old World climate…

The last round was Rhone-ranging again, but this time Red!
Warm nose, slightly burnt toast element, almost mocha pungency. The palate has plum, slightly toasted spice notes and an fresh line leading to an earthy finish.
But was it: the original model Chateauneuf du Pape? A Barossa (S. Australia) version? Or a slightly adapted Fairtrade offering from South Africa?
Probably the hardest guess – some elements chime with each wine’s description – although I rather fancy the Australian would be bigger. I think I would have guessed the Châteauneuf, but in retrospect that slight earthy note might be a clue…

The correct answers were:

THE TRUTH

THE TRUTH

Pacherhof Kerner 2014 (Alto-Adige)  – La Langhe (York) £14

The Liberator Special Edition ‘A Motley Cru’ 2014, (Coastal Region, S.A.)  –   Wine Society £11

Au Bon Climat Chardonnay 2014 (Santa Barbara, Calif)   –   Majestic £25

Feudi Bordonaro 2014   (Terre Siciliane IGT)  –   Laithwaites  £10

Bolgheri Rosso DOC 2013 (Grattamacco) (Tuscany)  –   Laithwaites £17

Bosman Adama Fairtrade Red 2015  (Wellington [10km N of Paarl] S.A.)    –   Majestic  £12

Six people tied for the quiz win – with 4 correct answers each…

A tie-breaker question then identified an outright winner in Rob – who wins a 15 year old Bual!

I thought the wines all showed very well, and the surprises were really the two South-Africans. Their inclusion was partly because South Africa just missed being a topic this season. “The Liberator” is partly a project by Richard Kelly, and if you’re Nottingham based some of this line’s wines are in Delilah…

Happy holidays….

Until soon!

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