Grape Madness Round #1: Rosenblum vs. Old Moon

 Grape Madness Round #1: Blind Tasting Grape Madness Round #1: Rosenblum vs. Old Moon
The first showdown in the Trader Joe’s bracket of the inaugural Grape Madness tourney was the (1) 2006 Rosenblum Paso Robles Zin ($16) vs. the (4) 2006 Old Moon Old Vine Zin ($5)

Before jumping in, if you need a refresher on the rules you can find a recap here. The main one two keep in mind here, per the picture above, that these were tasted blind. Well single blind for those that want to get particular. Before these wines were opened here were my preconceived notions of each:

  • Rosenblum: I’m a long time member of the Rosenblum wine club. At Trader Joe’s this one was proudly sporting a hand written tag that said Wine Spectator scored it 83 points. I’ve since learned (from @robertdwyer) that the score belonged to the ’05 version of this one. One other thing on the Rosenblum. Perhaps they should be immediately disqualified for their “enter birthday” gateway on their website (which you may have already met if you clicked above). How stupid can you be?
  • Old Moon: I had tried this one previously and was on the fence.  @tlmorgon is a big fan so it made the selection.  Cruising around the web I got the sense that the ’05 was much better than the ’06 in many peoples opinion.

With that squared away let’s get to tipoff.  For that let’s take a peek over to my twitter feed to get the play by play:

jasonswineblog: #GrapeMadness has tipped off. Rosenblum is off to an early lead up 9-2 on the Old Moon with 16:30 left in the first half…

jasonswineblog: #GrapeMadness Rosenblum‘s rich, dark, fruity palate distancing itself from the Old Moon “plonkish” feel. 39-24 3:45 left in the first half

jasonswineblog: #GrapeMadness Is it true the ’06 Rosenblum Paso Robles got 83 pts from Wine Spectator? Hanging to the lead, 53-44 12:10 left in the 2nd half

jasonswineblog: #GrapeMadness Old Moon is making a comeback, the 35-70 year old vines needed a wake up call. Getting tight! 69-64 3:25 left in the 2nd half

jasonswineblog: #GrapeMadness Too many quality players for Rosenblum. The Old Moon was over matched. Good game but never in doubt, Rosenblum wins 83-71

And just like that the buzzer sounded and the Rosenblum moved on to the second round to await its show down versus the winner of the Bogle/Ravenswood game. I’ll finish with a quick review of each:

2006 Old Moon Old Vine Zinfandel ($5): This one started off “plonkish”.  Closed nose coming through super hot.  Seemed like just another wine early on and left me wondering when the “35-70 year old vines” mentioned on the bottle were going to express themselves.  Initially it seemed to be trying hard to be something it was not.  After 45 minutes or so the heat blew off and the wine improved.  Still everything here is muted, some pepper, some dark fruit and a unbalanced finish. Perhaps the Vinturi would have helped here, thoughts Bob?  At the end of day I felt it was unfortunate that they buried these “old vines” under all that winemaking.  Rating: 12th bottle

2006 Rosenblum Paso Robles Zinfandel ($16): The difference between these two was readily apparent on the nose with the Rosenblum being much more aromatic showing robust dark fruit and floral notes.  On the palate you get rich fruit and oak notes with blackberry shining through on top of a dry, chalky backbone.  The finish was intially slightly tart and a bit hot but improved with time to leave a warm, comforting tannic tickle lingering.  That said, it makes me nervous for this one come the second round.  It better bring its “A game” then.  Rating: Pricey

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10 thoughts on “Grape Madness Round #1: Rosenblum vs. Old Moon

  1. Question: If it’s a blind tasting…how do you know who’s ahead at the half or did you write your notes down then fill in the name later? I’m curious….also, I’m not a BIG fan, a fan yes….mostly because people who hang with me who normally WON’T drink Zin will drink this….but hey, I can live with it!

  2. Sour grapes alert! Marc judges the Talus Pinot Noir as better than the Blackstone Merlot. You have got to be kidding. And who is currently in sole possession of first place in the standings because of this ridiculous, improbable, nature-defying decision? Why Mr. Marc himself. What a coincidence. Whaa, whaa, whaa. But wait–there’s more.The Wall Street Journal recently rated the 2006 Blackstone Merlot as “good/very good”. I’ve tasted it, as well–very pleasing. If Talus was tasted first (and I see nowhere where we are told the order of tasting) Marc’s taste buds could have been numbed out and freaked out by Talus’ baths of, what Marc described as, “sour fruits”, which, in turn, could have skewed his tastings of the Blackstone (somewhat similar to the effect of tasting a red wine and then white wine–the white wine suffers) . And am I missing something regarding conflicts of interest? Why are the blogging founding fathers of Grape Madness allowed to concurrently have a scorecard and judge anyway? Why, I say? Why? More Whah, whah. whah. I hereby officially petition the official GM panel for a re-taste. Re-taste. Re-taste, I say. Reverse the order of tasting of these two. What say you Grape Madness officials? Will you assemble the re-taste panel…………PS This Grape Madness is a great idea. I am having a blast with it. Thanks, Founding Fathers.

  3. Good grief! Here’s some more wine whining. I’m pretty sure the first round, losing wine, Baron de Magana, is a Robert Parker 90 rated wine. Daddy Winebucks scores it at 66. Daddy Winebucks can’t be serious. What did he do–cook it in the oven for a few hours before the tasting? Also, I was under the impression that four judges would judge/score “each” wine in order to get a more balanced tabulation/score. Right now, it looks like each tasting has only one official judge. Something to consider for GM#2

  4. @Danny Wow! Way to blow the whistle. Just saw on the Grape Madness ticker the “Breaking News” item after the Talus score said Congress is considering an inquiry. I have to say it seems warranted. Just let those greedy folks at AIG keep their bonuses and focus on something that matters to the country! The lack of oversight in regulation of tasting for Grape Madness has us headed towards disaster. I can hear the “Re-taste” slogan being chanted from coast to coast as I type. If a witch hunt is next, can you get them to skip my house please….

  5. Ah Danny boy… this isn’t my brother is it? First off, Eric’s scores are not actual wine scores ala the 100 point scale, but scores to closely resemble some real B-Ball games… a little confusing, I know, but consider this a learning curve for us.
    Second, and not to put out some spoilers, but easy, baby… After tomorrow you will realize I ain’t winning the tourney. I picked my winners way ahead of my tasting the wines and it was what I thought would win. Not trying to fix anything… No need to go all Rush Limbaugh on me.
    Third, I did taste the Blackstone first… not that impressed. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t that great either. I did not know I was tasting it first, but I did. And good for the WSJ… Not me. Everyone has a different palate, just like snowflakes…
    The other thing that is hard and needs to be remedied, is tasting different varietals against each other. It’s like the Westminster Dog Show… Can we say one breed is really better than the other? Isn’t that preference? How do we truly compare a Toy Poodle to a Lhaso Apso? Sure you can lift the tail and jog along side, but… Anyway… The Talus showed well and had all the Pinot qualities… Sue me… But as I said, a buddy of mine was here and after I did my notes and scores, he talked about the ones he liked… and he hates Pinots, but liked the Talus… I don’t know… You’ll see more as we go on… Breathe.
    Like I said, my brackets ain’t keeping me in the money… but I would not count myself anyway… so as to avoid the conflict of interest. It’s all about you!

  6. danny, i gotta say, does sound like sour grapes to me, but i have to commend you on somehow getting congress involved – you’re clearly more connected than i thought. hmm, i wonder if you could be the person behind the presidential bracket show on espn or, at the very least, figuring out that the presidential seal on the white house white board would be a nice touch? if so, nice touch…

    whine away, danny!

  7. I don’t think Danny has ever seen the Cars in concert. Great band… I mean go back and listen to their debut. Not a bad song in there. And Candy-O… a fantastic follow up… But live… ouch. Watching paint dry was more fun. And when the crowd is going crazy for the warm up band to come back… Wang Chung… you know something is amiss.
    The point… aside from calling myself out age wise… oops… is to say that sometimes a wine does not show its best side… bad bottle… off night… who knows… but a blind tasting allows one to taste without the preconceived notions of price, name, reputation, etc. It is supposed to take the pressure off… but this is a real boiler maker now! I am sweating a thick, unctuous, inky purple sweat…

  8. Thanks for chiming in, Danny, and I do owe an apology. My scores were not supposed to replicate the 100 point scale and I should have mentioned this again (I did explain my scoring system in my initial Grape Madness post – perhaps you missed it). I scored it like a basketball game. Go figure. And you are also correct that in this the first year of GM, there will be hiccups in the scoring, our ability to administer a more rigid way to implement the tasting, etc.

    What cannot be denied though is the power of blind tasting. Both of my more expensive wines lost to better wines on the night I tasted them. That’s the way it goes. Sorry if that went against people who you feel hold I higher standard to me when it comes to evaluating wine.

    You may think the Mona Lisa is the most brilliant thing even put on a canvas. I think it’s overrated. The art critic at the NY Times may agree with you. So what?

    I like what I like, you like what you like. Everyone wins! :)

    I appreciate your taking the time to comment here as it will surely make next’s event even better…

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