Above the Norm Wine Tasting Series

Critics Blind Sided At Tasting

It is typically the case that only during blind tastings are major revelations made. At this particular tasting there was also a major announcement that left the audience and critics dumb founded, but this was no blind tasting…

The tasting in question was a seminar to talk about the percentage of alcohol and how that effects the balance in a pinot noir. Many believe that if the alcohol content is too high the balance becomes distorted, others believe that alcohol percentage is not a concern. To talk about the subject five Pinot Noir producers and Rajat Parr, the wine director for some restaurants part of the Michael Mina group, came together and each brought two bottles of their pinot noir for everyone to try.

Now this is where it gets interesting. Throughout the seminar Mr. Parr’s policy about never serving a pinot noir or chardonnay that is has an alcohol percentage above 14% in his restaurants was constantly highlighted. At the end of the tasting one of the pinot noir producers, Adam Lee of Siduri Vineyards, stood up in front of everyone and announced that Mr. Parr had just offered to buy one of the Pinot Noirs he brought with him that day. The bottle was labeled to have 13.6% alcohol. Mr. Lee then announced that earlier that day he had personally switched the labels on all of his wine bottles, so the wine that everyone thought had an alcohol percentage of 13.6%, actually had 15.2%. This deception has become known as the “Great Pinot Noir Kerfuffle”, and caused numerous criticism to erupt through the wine world.

Mr. Lee was only trying to prove that alcohol does not effect the balance of a Pinot Noir. Many believe Mr. Lee’s trick does not prove anything and was simply counter productive. I think Mr. Lee’s behavior was very clever. Even if it does not prove the point about balance in Pinor Noir, I’m sure it proved a point to many individuals that do judge a bottle of wine by its label. What do you think? Do you believe Mr. Lee’s actions are simply childish or are they valid and prove a point?

I hope you are all excited for the blind tasting the Above the Norm Series is sponsoring on Monday, May 2, at 8pm! It is Professor Grant versus Wine Spectator and I am very excited to see which wines people end up preferring!

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