Once again 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 (again I know… single blind). Here is what I had on my mind before the bottles hit the table:
- Chateau Chevalier: As I purveyed the rare air of the top shelf many options availed themselves with a $20 price cap. This one appeared to be from a smaller winery and with a Spring Mountain AVA stood out from the crowd.
- Trader Joe’s Coastal: On the cheap end I had to go with Trader Joe’s private labels. Once that was determined this one was an easy choice as it is made by Castoro Cellars. I had heard some good blog buzz on their offerings so decided to give this one a ticket to the dance.
With pregame covered let’s get to the action Here is the play by play from twitter:
This one was never in doubt as the Chateau Chevalier played at a different level in every aspect of the game from buzzer to buzzer. I’ll finish with a quick review of each:
2006 Trader Joe’s Coastal Cabernet ($4): On the nose this appears thin showing sour cherry notes that are drowned out by barrel odors. It is immediately apparent that this bottle is not a product of the fields but rather was concocted in a winery laboratory. Hard to believe these two wines had anything in common. Which I had statistics on yield per acre or something that may help me better explain the disparity. Perhaps the age of vines? Guessing the care in wine making was directed towards making something drinkable, not special. Thus this one could taste like many other “generic” offerings on the market today. Rating: Skip It
2004 Chateau Chevalier Napa Cabernet ($16): Off the bat this one is better on the nose showing rich, aromatic notes of dark fruit. On the palate it is balanced and smooth with just a hint of tannins and a dose of oak that leads to a nice lasting finish. You find this wine to be restrained, holding itself back but at the same time ready to go with you whenever your taste buds may be ready. I am looking forward to another bottle of this in the second round. Rating: Wow-