Shirley and I have some parties coming up - my birthday, a dinner party, and an open house - and so we have to pick wines. I visited our local cheaper-than-dirt wine distributor (Wade's Wines), and picked eight possible chardonnays, in the range $5-$30 per bottle. I also threw in a known-to-be-good $50 bottle for comparison, and we did a blind tasting. Hey, it's hard work throwing parties :)
The results were amazing. I totally mis-called which wines I thought I'd like. My personal favorite going in was the 2001 Forman ($30), which ended up dead last. This is why you have to taste blind.
Remarkably, Shirley and I had similar tasting notes. We both found one wine to be the clear pick of the bunch - the 2001 Peters ($25). I promise you, this is a great Chardonnay. Our third favorite was a South African wine, the 2002 Graham Beck, which at $9 is a great bottle. And the cheapest wine of the bunch, the 1997 Chateau Woltner ($5), finished a respectable sixth, ahead of the expensive "benchmark", the 2000 Kistler ($50).
Here are the results, your mileage may vary:
If you want to try this at home, here's how you do it. Person A uncorks the bottles, and wraps them in foil. Each bottle is given a letter (via a little sticky note), and Person A writes down the names of the wines and their letters. Next fold the paper so only the letters are visible. Then Person B removes the letter labels and at random assigns each bottle a number (via a little sticky note), writing each bottle's number next to the letter it replaced. Now you taste, and each person makes notes on the bottles by their numbers. Neither person knows which bottle goes with which number.
Remember to have crackers, bland cheese, bread, and water handy for "cleansing the palate". Each person needs several glasses for comparison purposes. And remember you don't have to drink a lot! You can taste wines without swallowing... Of course you can, if you want to. Somehow our favorite, the 2001 Peters, was nearly gone by the time we were done.
Yeah, it's hard work, but somebody has to do it :)