Fun With Friends: Zinfandel Blind Tasting Party

Wine can be a lot of fun when you abandon all pretenses and trust your taste buds.

One thing we enjoy is blind tasting wine with friends. We like to pick a particular varietal to explore and serve several bottles to our friends without telling them the year, region, or winery. The only way to judge the wine is by is color, smell, and taste.

Examples of past parties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petite Sirah.

We recently hosted a dinner party to share some bottles of Zinfandel we had acquired along the way. The wine was served blind and paired with a meal selected to go with the wine.


The Wines

The evening started with a bottle of 2013 Zorzon Sauvignon Blanc. We discovered this Italian white wine at a wine dinner hosted by Antica Trattoria, our favorite Italian restaurant.

Next, we moved to our lineup of three Zinfandels.

  • Robert Biale 2010 Monte Rosso Zinfandel
  • Cuvaison 2010 Brandlin Zinfandel
  • Sextant 2011 Holystone Zinfandel

The Biale and Cuvaison were single vineyard Zinfandels from Napa Valley. The Sextant was a blend from several vineyards in Paso Robles.

We finished the evening with a Rutherford Hill 2010 Zinfandel Port.


The Meal

Sally created a menu that was perfect to enjoy with the Zinfandel.

First Course: Prosciutto, arugula,  ricotta, and dried apricot bites

Second Course: Three cheeses. Creamy Gorgonzola, Feta, and Syrah Tuscany

Third Course: Baked chicken with apples & onions, mashed potatoes, roasted carrots, and mixed greens salad

Dessert: Blackberry pie and fudge

The Winner

All of the wines were excellent and our guests enjoyed them. 

It’s interesting how each one stood out in different ways. The Robert Biale and Cuvaison both had a subtle mix of pepper and fruit while the Sextant was much more jammy. Of the three, the Biale had the biggest difference from the first bottle to the second bottle, getting even better as it went along.

One wine remained the favorite throughout and was crowned our winner: Cuvaison 2010 Brandlin Zinfandel.

This was an impressive third blind tasting win for Cuvaison. They’ve previously won our Pinot Noir and Syrah blind tastings.

Posted on February 5, 2015 and filed under Tasting Experiences.