Friday Night Flights 18 May 2018

Welcome to Friday Night Flights for 18 May 2018!

As a reminder… we randomly pick one of several pre-chosen pairs and then drink the wines blind. Wines are paired based on varietal, vintage, and price, so that we’re as close to comparing apples to apples as possible.  Within the pair, one wine is from Germany and the other from somewhere else.  Which is “Wine A” and which is “Wine B” from week to week is random.

Wine A

Wine A has a pale ruby color.  On the nose there are notes of lots of red fruit (cherry, raspberry, and a hint of strawberry), a bit of white pepper.  There a bit of the (pleasant) smell of newly fallen leaves.  The wine is clearly oaked, with a round toasty vanilla aroma.

A dry wine, on the palate there’s a high degree of acidity, but this is balanced by nice red fruit (cherry and raspberry again), with vanilla, cedar, and a bit of white pepper.  The wine has a medium level of alcohol with restrained tannins and a medium body that largely comes from the rounded fruit.  The finish pleasant but somewhat abbreviated.

Overall, I think this wine is very nicely balanced with a lovely nose and good fruit on the palate.  The use of oak is tasteful and complements the rest of the wine.  A very good wine and one that would go well with smoked meats or game.  Clearly a Pinot Noir.

Wine B

Wine B is darker than Wine A — a medium ruby color.  The nose exhibits black cherry and red plum notes, with some herbal overtones from lavender.

Like Wine A, this wine is dry, with high levels of acid and medium levels of alcohol.  It is  more tannic than Wine B, in the medium(+) range.  These higher levels of tannin lead to a medium body.  But the palate is a disappointment, with the tannins dominating what little fruit there is (mostly a vague sense of red or black fruit).  The finish is short and leaves a bitter aftertaste.

While Wine B is not flawed, it’s hard to like.  The nose is unexciting and the palate is just plain unbalanced (too much tannin and very little fruit) and boring. It is not a wine that I enjoyed drinking.  With some more bottle age, the tannins would soften, but there is so little fruit that I would be concerned that the end product would be quite dull indeed.  In the short run pairing this wine with a grilled steak might also soften the tannins and reveal some fruit, but overall I think this is a lackluster effort.

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