I was going to wait a little longer, but how long can a wine geek can leave three anonymous bottles untouched? Less than 24 hours, it would seem.
Before I start - I've not opened the wines yet - I should probably tell everyone how cool I think this whole thing is: it is very cool. Even if it is a ridiculously elaborate marketing exercise and the wines turn out to be terrible, I will think of the folly fondly. It not only recognises the importance of new media formats, it tips its cap to them and provides us with an opportunity to do something we love: taste wine. Taste wine, talk about it, argue about it, discuss it and guess. The fact that there are prizes involved is incidental (though I would be delighted to win a €1000 wine trip for two). No matter how cynical their motivation, it's groovy to be a part of it.
I'll post my guesses once the competition closes, on the 27th of September.
Wine - 079 -
Colour: Dark, deep, purple with red edges - quite viscous. I thought it was Banyuls initially.
Nose: Sweet plums and honey with a bit of alcohol hit.
Palate: Quite big, dark forest fruit with bramble bush and quite rounded finish. There's a bit of alcohol to it as well and a bit of a pebbly mouthfeel.
What I think it is: Gigondas - it's the pebbles.
Wine - 390 -
Colour: More purple with an even thinner rim. It goes straight to the core in little time and that core is very dark.
Nose: Blueberries with a touch of smoked bacon and is there some black olive there? Touch of varnish.
Palate: Similar tannin structure to 079 but with more acidity and therefore more linear structure. The sweetness and ripeness of the blueberry are compelling and more-ish. The finish sees a bit more of that black olive from the nose coming through.
What I think it is: Cornas - that's definitely syrah, or mostly syrah...
Wine - 714 -
Colour: The lightest of the three, with more ruby than purple tints. Still quite dark, though.
Nose: Once again, there's that sweet, Banyuls-like dark fruit and wild honey comb to kick things off. It's the least defined on the nose. There's still a bit of booziness though.
Palate: This is also the oldest on the palate - the tannins are softer and it's a gentler run all-round. The fruit's a touched stewed and compote-y, with gentle though rich secondaries of fruit bush, the starts of saddle leather and a touch of dry anise. Nice length
What I think it is: old Chateauneuf-du-Pape - this one required no pause for consideration.
Overall, the quality is impressive. I think the wines are forward and would say the first two are either 07s or 09s as the fruit is there, but those light violet notes I normally associate with the region (that I'm guessing it is) are nowhere to be seen (or smelled, or tasted), so I'm assuming it's a ripe vintage. They all sit comfortably in the £10-£20 range, though there is a touch of modernity to them. I suspect they come from one producer as there seems to be a bit of a recurring theme. Oh well, my votes are cast and we'll see.
The wines were far better than expected. This was fun.
Tasted 22/9/2010 at Luvians Bottleshop