Grape Madness Round #3: Stephen Vincent vs. Castle Rock

 Grape Madness Round #3: Blind TastingGrape Madness Round #3: Stephen Vincent vs. Castle Rock
The road to the Final Four for the Whole Foods bracket was a show down between (2) 2006 Stephen Vincent Crimson ($11) vs. (2) 2007 Castle Rock Pinot Noir Monterey County ($12).

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 just as I did or the Trader Joe’s bracket earlier this week. Before we jump in, let’s look back on the first round match-ups to see how these two got here:

  • The Stephen Vincent came to play and the results showed as it upended the Klinker Brick 89-86. RJ had this to say “The Stephen Vincent had a nice fruit and earthy blend. Good solid acidity kept the wine vibrant and alive throughout. My old friend menthol delivered a punch on the nose that I’d come to expect and love from the Crimson”
  • The Castle Rock fought tough and prevailed over the York Creek 88-87. Rj had this to say “Alive, vibrant and well balanced, but I was searching for a little more fruit to go with its earthy, spicy blend. In the end, mostly because of its more lively edge, the Castle Rock Pinot Noir prevailed.

With pregame covered let’s get to the real action via my twitter news feed. This was the closest game to date.

jasonswineblog: Whole Foods #GrapeMadness final underway. Castle Rock starts strong (on grape roids?) leading Stephen Vincent 21-19 13:41 left in the 1st..
jasonswineblog: #GrapeMadness Stephen Vincent running balanced attack. Castle Rock is bigger (aromas and fruit) but SV leads 39-36. 2:00 to go in the 1st.

jasonswineblog: #GrapeMadness Tight game at half. Neck and neck with Stephen Vincent leading Castle Rock 43-39.

jasonswineblog: #GrapeMadness Stephen Vincent shows richness on the palate but the sourness on finish allows Castle Rock to keep it close. 57-56 12:48 to go..

jasonswineblog: #GrapeMadness A nail biter. Big fruit on Castle Rock hiding flaws vs. balanced play hiding a tart finish for SV. Tied at 72 4:04 to go.

jasonswineblog: #GrapeMadness Castle Rock surging, not playing a team game. Can super star fruit carry them to the Final Four. They lead 81-79 1:56 to go.

jasonswineblog: #GrapeMadness Closest game of the tourney. Castle Rock clinging to a lead despite sub par team play. Can it last? They lead 84-83 0:44 to go

jasonswineblog: #GrapeMadness Castle Rock inbounding throw it away, SV scores and leads 85-84 with 0:28 to play

jasonswineblog: #GrapeMadness Castle Rock fouled at the line. Makes 1 of 2. Tied at 85 with 0:21 to play

jasonswineblog: #GrapeMadness SV nails a three from deep in the corner. Still balanced, calm under pressure. They lead 88-85 with 0:09 left to play
jasonswineblog: #GrapeMadness Again Castle Rock has inbounds issues, pass intercepted. Clock run out. Stephen Vincent advances 88-85!


This one was an played tight to the finish but ultimately the winemaker’s fingerprint did in the Castle Rock.  Though they did their best to balance the wine making there was clearly a rogue component about to disrupt all their had work.  Lack of team work prevented the Castle Rock from moving to the Final Four. I’ll finish with a quick review of each:

2006 Stephen Vincent Crimson ($11): Velvety in color, nose of light red fruit. Whiffs of strawberry for sure, A bit of heat hidden in the aromatics as well. Nice richness on the palate. This one came to play. Balanced team-effort makes this the squad to beat despite the zinging sourness on the finish. Rating: Pricey

2007 Castle Rock Pinot Noir Monterey County ($12):This one left me immediately conflicted, am I rating on my own palate or should I consider the masses? Dark fruit said yes but there was danger lingering on the peripheral of the taste buds. In the end this was a good team that didn’t play hard enough. Had the skill set to win but couldn’t bring it to bear. The outsider was lurking thourgout and had a few turnovers that sealed the deal for the Stephen Vincent late in the game. That said the Castle Rock may have broader appeal to the masses. Rating: Pricey

That’s a wrap, stay tuned for the finale of the Elite 8 tomorrow. Who will join Talus, Stephen Vincent and Chateau Chevalier in the Final Four. Bodega Norton Malbec vs. The Show Cab for the last spot in the dance. In the mean time see what RJ had to say or check the latest standings on the contest scoreboard.

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