Dolcetto in the Streets, Shiraz in the Sheets: A Threesome Blind Tasting

With World Cup 2018 finally under way, a lot has been put to the test both on the field and outside of it. The underdogs are ploughing their way through the group stage, bringing fame to their name, which is, as a result, sparking up extra interest for this beautiful game called football. The blind tasting held at Praelum Wine Bistro pulled a similar parallel with three “teams”– France, Italy and South Africa – fighting for the jewel in the crown.

As with many competitions, there are a lot of theories surrounding them. Some of them are utter bollocks, others prove a point. If you’re in this trade, you’re probably familiar with that guy you meet a house party and his classic line – “I saw this video on Youtube where experts couldn’t recognize the difference between a cheap and expensive wine. SO WINE TASTING IS BULLSHIT FOR SNOBS!!1” I never understood why people are so aggressive when it comes to wine. Yes, there is a lot of snobbery in our circles, but there is way more fun and never-ending room for discussion. The ultimate validation for that is a spot on blind tasting held on a hot, sunny afternoon with 20 people coming together from all spheres of life and engaging in a fun activity. Reasons are different. I met this guy who works as an accountant and is part of a French tasting group. He came to refresh his memory of Bordeaux. Another gentleman was from a logistics team who came to meet people of similar interests and support his favourite wine bar. I came to practice my detection skills for the final WSET Diploma exam coming up in a few months. Tasted nine wines, got six right (we had to guess the country). Below are my notes and a more detailed explanation on the process of this particular blind tasting. Continue reading “Dolcetto in the Streets, Shiraz in the Sheets: A Threesome Blind Tasting”

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Il Più Grande: The Art of Marchesi Antinori

The fact that every serious winelover knows at least one wine from this immense selection displays how big the Antinori brand actually is. Opened in 1385 (yes, you read it right), this winery developed its roots in beloved Florence (Tuscany, Italy) and is currently active in three other countries – Romania, Hungary and the US. However, it is most recognizable for its historic role of shaping one of the most famous Italian wine styles, the so-called Super Tuscans.

In 1971, Marchesi Antinori decided to stand up against Italian wine laws that allowed mixing white grape varieties with red, but forbade blending in international grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (*facepalm*). He got stripped of his DOCG status, with the Italian government laughing in his face and assigning him the vino da tavola label (table wine, the lowest rank you can get in Italy). Our young hero did not wither and soon received a reward for this brave act – a recognition in the US press as a rebel with a cause. Today, his Tignanello for example, has a mere IGT status (regional wine), even though it meets all requirements for DOCG. This is a perfect symbol of dissent against the rigid Italian wine tradition that began 45 years ago and managed to launch Antinori in the crème de la crème of iconic brands today. Continue reading “Il Più Grande: The Art of Marchesi Antinori”