Monday, March 13, 2006

Vastly different Reviews of Same Wine (PB)

(NW) recently reviewed Chateau De Paraza 2002–a wine I had reviewed this past September–with vastly differing opinions of the wine. Despite the push-back, I offer the following comments.

I wrote: Chateau De Paraza 2002 wine review by (PB)
This French red from the Minervois region is medium garnet on the pour and when I put it to my nose, I was overwhelmed by an astounding blast of pipe tobacco aromas which was fabulous.

On the swirl it was more of the same. Wow!

There’s a touch of cinnamon on the plate with solid structure and dried cherries as the prominent fruit though it is somewhat tight. With some air, the dried cherries just grow accompanied by steely flavors. The wine is somewhat thin, and the finish short. But this wine cost $8 and the bouquet alone is worth that, and more. Raise a glass of this value wine

(NW) wrote: Chateau De Paraza 2002 wine review by (NW)
White pepper and herbal nose
Nice texture on the palate
Thin, peppery finish

I always search out wines from Minervois, a region of the Languedoc in Southern France. This is a fast evolving wine region that is producing fun and interesting wines with Mediterranean grapes such as Grenache, Cinsault, and Mourvedre.

This bottling isn't quite my style, with such a peppery and herbal composition. As a result, I don't recommend it. However, it was only $8 and I highly recommend sampling wines from Minervois in this price range to determine what you like. Raise a glass!

So how come the disparate reviews of the same wine???

First, it is possible that (NW) had an off-night so to speak; sometimes an on coming cold, the particular pairing of the food that the wine was served with or a wine that preceded or followed the reviewed wine could impact a review. But (NW) has a more discriminating palate than that so I suspect it was one of the following:

Possibility #1. My review came 6 months prior to (NW’s); enough time for a wine to “lose it” and have gone just enough down hill to warrant the kinds differences (NW) noted.

Possibility #2. Bottle variation is well known among tasters. For unknown reasons, one bottle of a particular wine just doesn’t present the same way as another bottle. This could be due to a difference in storage once each wine arrived at the retailers or one bottle just happened to get tainted in the process of bottling. I suspect this is probably more likely the reason for tow differing reviews.

What we should do, is fine another bottle of this wine and review it together or at least two more bottles in our respective locales and re-review them. The results may be telling. In any case, it’s a great excuse to try another wine! So, raise a glass and Viva La Difference!

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