This is the third in our series called “Taste Testing” for our blog. We’re looking to compare our favorite things to find the best of the best! Send us your suggestions of what we should test out!
After talking with the lovely Marissa and reading the guest post she graciously wrote for this blog, it seemed only natural to do a little wine tasting. I have the new found appreciation for evaluating wine (even if it’s very basic) and wanted to put it to the test. I emailed some friends, and they kindly agreed to join in as my guest judges. I’m sure it was because they’re just amazing friends. Appetizers, a cheese plate, and free wine probably played no part in their decision making process.
Since we’re very new to the whole world of wine, we wanted to start with some very basic (and not so expensive) choices. We decided to go to a place that many people may have heard of, Trader Joe’s. They always have a wide selection of wine in a wide selection of price ranges, and we chose to go with the most accessible price range of $5 and under. Believe it or not, there were plenty of styles to choose from. We went with all red wines because it’s still winter and red wine seems cozier.
The contenders were (left to right): Tres Pinos (California), Aquila D’Oro (Italy), Condesa de Sarabella (Spain), Trader Joe’s Merlot (Chile), and Nero d’Avola (Italy).
all reds, all from TJ's, all under $5
I poured for my four guest judges to they didn’t know which wine they were tasting. Each wine was rated according to Marissa’s four step guide on a scale of 1 through 5 (1 being awful and 5 being spectacular). First was “the part where you swirl your wine around in the glass” focusing on the legs and color of the wine. Next, “the part where you shove your nose in the glass” to rate the nose, or bouquet, or the wine. Third, “the part where you drink” and evaluate the mouthfeel, taste, and finish of the wine. Last, “the part where you finish your glass and think about how much more awesome life is with wine in it” which was the overall rating that was out of a possible 15 points, and was the first three scores added up.
the celebrity judges hard at work.
Here’s how they did
#4 Tie between Aquila D’Oro and Condesa de Sarabella
The tasters felt similarly about these two wine stating for both that there wasn’t much distinct flavor but too much bite in the finish. One taster especially disliked the aroma of the Aquila D’Oro and said “it tastes like $5”. I did some research on both to find out more, and most tasters suggested opening the bottle and letting it sit for a while before drinking the wine. This seems to bring out more of the flavor and pleasant aroma. Maybe something to keep in mind for next time.
#3 Trader Joe’s Private Label
I picked up this wine because I had never seen Trader Joe’s own label of wine and wanted to include a South American wine. Overall, the color and mouthfeel were good to the judges. It was lighter than the previous wines and a bit more fruity.
#2 Nero D’Avola
This wine, named for a grape that’s popular in southern Italy for wine making, was slightly sweeter and more fruity. Some thought it was also dry, but all of the judges seemed to like it. Only three points separated this from the first place wine.
#1 Tres Pinos Tierra Roja
This wine is actually a blend of four different kinds of grapes, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Syrah. This definitely gave the wine a nice fruity flavor and pleasant aroma, although with a touch of acidity (which I’ve learned are the tannins). This is the wine everyone wanted more of after the tasting, and that really is a good indicator for me.
congratulations tres pinos!
It was fun to try some new flavors with friends and to branch out at Trader Joe’s. We’re planning to do this tasting again with white wines in the spring. I think the judges are already looking forward to it!