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  • Janette Keating

Chapter 13: Blind Tasting Party

To celebrate the first vintage and to experience our wine alongside other similar bottles, we hosted a “Blind Wine Tasting” experience. Our friend James Bushee ( lead the tasting. Visit his blog to read about it.

There were four Cabernet Sauvignon bottles concealed in bags (all from Sonoma and Napa California) and all well known except ours. None of us knew which wine we tasted except for Marissa, (Jim’s wife) also know as Vanna Wine, who selected them and put them in the bags.

Each guest tasted number one and considered the color, aroma, and taste carefully. We noted our findings on a sheet prepared by Jim. Then in turn we all shared our opinions. No one was right or wrong as everyone experiences wine their own way. There were differences of opinion sometimes and agreement as well.

After cleansing our palettes, we repeated this for each wine. Guests also chose their favorite wine of the four. Then we revealed the bottles and it was a really great moment when Quail Run was revealed because some of us had chosen it as the favorite! The other wines were all excellent choices and tough competition! There was Stone Edge Cabernet, Repris Cabernet, and Stag’s Leap Cabernet. Some were a little older which generally makes a cabernet have softer tannins

Quail Run was described as having a bright dark purple color with aromas of dark fruit and spice. It was well-balanced with moderately grippy tannins. I had notes of chocolate and a medium very pleasant finish.

All three others are wines we drink often. In fact Pat and I had recently visited Stag’s Leap Winery in Napa and saw the boastful display about the cab that won the Judgement of Paris Competition in 1976. We purchased some that day for our collection but weren’t aware that it had been chosen for our blind tasting.

The Judgement of Paris a great story that changed the wine industry for the US. In fact the American wine industry took off at that point and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC has a bottle on display to commemorate this turning point for America. :

To have our brand new cabernet sauvignon go up against Stag’s Leap and the other two great wines was expecting a lot from it! Fortunately it held its own and it’s newness didn’t adversely affect people’s opinion of it; in fact, it was voted best #1 by 1/3 of the tasters and # 2 by I/4 of the tasters. How exciting!

I think a blind tasting is a great experience. It forces the taster to really pay attention to all the senses and experience the beauty of the wine. If you are interested in tasting our wine please send me a note at!


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