Wine Review Special – Putting Emilie to the Test: A Blind Tasting of Two Juicy Reds

Otazu Premium Cuvée 2012 & Goldridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 Wine BottlesIn the end, the Spanish red blend took the honours in this blind tasting…

Wanting to hone Emilie’s tasting skills, Ryan surprised her with an impromptu blind tasting on a gorgeous summer night. It was a good way to see if the skills she developed during the WSET Level 2 course in Wines & Spirits remained.

Although admittedly simple, this basic challenge, a blind comparison of two wines, has always served as an excellent way to discern smells and tastes, and more importantly, to figure out what one likes. If you’ve never tried it, we highly recommend it.

The first wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon from Goldridge Estate in South East Australia (which covers a rather vast area), offered plenty of sour cranberry and peppery notes, as well as hints of eucalyptus, anise, and green cedar. It paired relatively well with grilled steak and roasted potatoes, but came across as somewhat one-dimensional.

The second wine, a red blend from Otazu in Spain, offered plenty of dark fruit, most notably plums and blackberries, with leather, earth, and spicy notes, as well as a nice degree of complexity. It paired even better with the steak, and to our surprise, had more pronounced fruit flavours as it opened.

The Blind Tasting:

Emilie picked up on the blend right away, noting the greater degree of complexity. She also picked up on the more old-world style of the Spanish wine, as opposed to the more new-world style of the Australian offering, putting forward a few educated guesses about the country of origin of the two wines (No, the blend was not from Southern France, and, no, the Cabernet Sauvignon was not from a cool-to-moderate climate).

In the end, Emilie preferred the Otazu for the style, complexity, and wine and food pairing. Although one could easily argue the comparison was unfair (a red blend versus a single varietal), it served its purpose in terms of identifying a wine preference (i.e., what one likes), which, in our view, is one of the key points when it comes to tasting. As an aside, Emilie is already looking forward to the blind Rosé tasting we are planning for later this summer. Stay tuned for the results…

The Wine Details…

Wine 1: Goldridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Name: The Estate Series

Vintage: 2015

Producer: Goldridge Estate

Region/Country: South East Australia

Grape Varietal(s): Cabernet Sauvignon

Alcohol content: 14%

Consumed: At home as part of a blind tasting.

Recommended By: Received it as part of a gift through the Wine Collective. This particular offering is exclusive to the Wine Collective, so its distribution remains limited. Interestingly, although the label indicates “Wine of Australia,” it also indicates this Cabernet Sauvignon was produced by Poulter & Co. Ltd. based in Auckland, New Zealand.

Cost: $20 CAD

Bottle Presentation: A simple, classic, non-descript label that looks like hundreds, if not thousands of others on the shelves. We did, however, like the signature, which added a personal touch.

Appearance: Medium ruby red.

Nose: A medium nose, with cranberries, green cedar, eucalyptus, anise, and a hint of sweet perfume.

Taste: A dry, medium-bodied red, with medium acidity and medium-to-high dry, bitter tannins. In the mouth, we detected sour cranberries, pepper, and some spices.

Finish: A medium, dry, tannic finish, which left us wanting a glass of water.

Rating (from 70 to 100): 85/100

Value: 3.5/5

Wine 2: Otazu Premium Cuvée

Name: Otazu Premium Cuvée

Vintage: 2012

Producer: Bodega Otazu

Region/Country: Navarra, Spain

Grape Varietal(s): Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, and Merlot

Alcohol content: 14%

Consumed: At home as part of a blind tasting.

Recommended By: Picked from the last chance bin at the LCBO.

Cost: $17.95 CAD

Bottle Presentation: A clean, plain label, with what appears to be a rather disheveled-looking hairdo, or a wiry, modern ladies’ hat, on faceless head.

Appearance: Medium ruby, bordering on garnet.

Nose: A medium nose, offering dark fruit, possibly blackberries (although boysenberry is mentioned on the label), leather, and grilled meat.

Taste: A dry, medium-bodied red blend, with medium acidity and medium-to-high grippy tannins. Prominent flavours included plums, blackberries, leather, earth, and a hint of spice.

Finish: A long, earthy finish, reflecting the style of wine.

Rating (from 70 to 100): 88/100

Value: 4/5

Please leave us a comment or get a discussion going...

%d bloggers like this: