Grape Madness Round #3: Chateau Chevalier vs. Rosenblum

 Grape Madness Round #3: Blind TastingGrape Madness Round #3: Chateau Chevalier vs. Rosenblum
The third round in the Trader Joe’s bracket of the inaugural Grape Madness tourney kicked off with the (1) 2004 Chateau Chevalier Napa Cabernet ($15) vs. (1) 2006 Rosenblum Paso Robles Zin ($16).

Once again if you need a refresher on the rules you can find a recap here. The main one to keep in mind here, per the picture above, that these were tasted blind (again I know… single blind). A change for round 3 is that we were performing joint tasting.  I paired up with RJ from RJ’s Wine Blog for this effort and will do so for the Whole Foods bracket come Saturday.  Before we jump in, let’s look back on the first round match-ups to see how these two got here:

  • The Chateau Chevalier ran away from the Fetzer cruising to an easy win 91-78 victory.  This was its 2nd runaway victory in a row.  Could that be a weakness come round 3?  With depth, dark fruit aromas and brambly cherry flavors leading to a nice lingering finish I’m guessing not.  But we are about to find out!
  • The Rosenblum had a tough match versus the Bogle but prevailed 90-87. My notes highlighted a rich, dark fruity nose with earthy and barrel components with a silky smooth palate full of dense, lush dark fruit flavors leading to a chalky finish with slight tannins. There was some early heat that disipated with time.  I was concerned it may not have the pedigree to go all the way despite being a fan favorite.

With pregame covered let’s get to the real action via my twitter news feed:

jasonswineblog: #GrapeMadness Elite 8 is under way. Chateau Chevalier rich, balanced and restrained attack grabs an early lead 11-8 16:12 left in the 1st.
jasonswineblog: #GrapeMadness Rosenblum started too hot (on the finish) but is settling in. Tough Chevalier D has them trailing 32-26 2:00 left in the 1st.

jasonswineblog: #GrapeMadness At half Rosenblum streaky play has dug a 39-32 deficit. Chevalier has brought their “A” game. Can they mount a comeback?

jasonswineblog: #GrapeMadness Rosenblum evolved nicely during the break and is making a run. Closed the deficit to 61-57 with 12:00 left in 2nd half.

jasonswineblog: #GrapeMadness Rosenblum shows differently each time down the court. Chevalier isn’t bothered, keeps playing its game. Leads 72-65 4:09 left.

jasonswineblog: #GrapeMadness Rosenblum keeps it interesting but needed more Dr. Jekyll and less Mr. Hyde. Chevalier quality game prevails winning 90-86.


This one was an interesting match up.  Mostly because I never knew what each sip of the Rosenblum would bring.  Depsite that the Chateau Chevalier led this one from wire to wire and advances to the Final Four where it awaits the winner of the Whole Foods bracket winner. I’ll finish with a quick review of each:

2004 Chateau Chevalier Napa Cabernet ($16): Again this one ran the table.  The Rosenblum had smoke and mirrors going but the Chateau Chevalier delivered with consistency.  Big dark fruit on the nose.  Super Balanced on the palate with lush flavors leading to a dry chalky finish.  This wine is humble and restrained throughout.  I’m liking its chance to go all the way though that finish may not be for everyone.  Rating: Wow

2006 Rosenblum Paso Robles Zinfandel ($16):This one started off in a funk again.  The nose was hot and full of dark fruits and rhubarb for me.  RJ was finding some Pina Colada action…  Every sip brought a different wine.  My initial rating started around 82 points before it escalated to the 86 where it finished.  Given more time I am guessing it would have progressed more but the fatal flaw was that it was falling apart on the finish.  At this price point, depsite the fact that it got this far, that is not something I am willing to overlook.  There are better Zin’s available, both generally and from Rosenblum on the market.  Rating: Not for me

That’s  a wrap, stay tuned for more action tomorrow.  In the mean time see what RJ had to say or check the latest standings on the contest scoreboard.

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