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Australian Reds: A Blind Tasting

A blind tasting of three Australian reds at different price points

The wines:
Peter Lehmann Mentor 2002 - $35 Cdn
Magpie Estate The Sack Shiraz 2006 - $20 Cdn
Hardys Bankside Shiraz 2007 - $15 Cdn

My friends Matt and Chris came over last night for a blind tasting of three Australian reds. Our mission was twofold: to enjoy some wine and to determine whether we could tell the different between three different price points ranging from $15-35. My wife Dianne joined us as well.

I wrapped the bottles in brown paper bags, marked them 1, 2 and 3 and off we went. After we tasted all three, we could all try to the guess how much each of them cost, knowing that one was $15, one was $20 and one was $35.

Bottle #1:
We all had trouble pulling aromas out of this one and the flavour profile wasn’t any more obvious. Chris said it smelled like low-VOC paint, I thought it tasted like watered-down blueberry juice, Matt said it was buttery but lacked flavour and Dianne tasted a hint of mince pie.

Bottle #2:
A couple of us noted sweet plum and pepper aromas and similar flavour on the palette. Dianne tasted figs and Chris called it “syrupy.” The flavours were much more apparent on this one, and the aromas jumped out of the glass compared to Bottle #1.

Bottle #3:
To me, this wine was a blockbuster in the aroma department. My immediate reaction was “Wow.” I noted walnuts, baseball glove, raisins, smoke and a fascinating mix of pineapples and exotic fruit. Chris immediately picked up smoke aromas and dark fruits and citrus on the palette. Dianne tasted Christmas cake, dark fruit and spice. Everyone liked this one a lot.

Now the fun part: guessing the prices. Matt and I both guessed the same bottles. We chose Bottle #1 at $35, figuring the pricey one would be smooth and subtle. We guessed Bottle #2 was the mid-level wine and Bottle #3 – our favourite – was the inexpensive one, as it had a rustic character. Dianne picked the price points based on what she liked, choosing Bottle #3 as the $35 wine, Bottle #2 as $20 and Bottle #1 as $15. Chris picked Bottle #2 as $35, Bottle #1 as $20 and Bottle #3 as $15.

The verdict:
Bottle #1: Hardys Bankside Shiraz 2007 - $15
Bottle #2: Magpie Estate The Sack Shiraz 2006 - $20
Bottle #3: Peter Lehmann Mentor 2002 - $35

The winner: Dianne

Matt and I were hoping we had found a great value in Bottle #3, but in this case, our preferences followed the price point.

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“Australian Reds: A Blind Tasting”