White wine contest results

A good time was had by all at the wine contest last night, the rain notwithstanding. The wonderful Pasanella & Son laid on five wines for us, all of them sauvignon blanc or thereabouts.

Wine A was the most expensive, a Vacheron Sancerre which sells for about $30.

Wine B was brought in especially by Pasanella to get a US wine: it was a Walter Hansel Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma, which retails for about $25.

Wine C was another French wine, a Domaine Massiac from the Languedoc which Pasanella was selling for $10 a bottle.

Wine D was Dog Point from New Zealand, which Pasanella sells for about $20.

Wine E was Basa from Spain, sold by Pasanella for $15 per bottle.

Armed with our range of similar whites at dissimilar prices, we embarked on a not-remotely-blind tasting, and everybody tried to rank the wines in order from most expensive to least. I also asked people to rank each wine out of 20, with limited success, since that wasn’t part of the competition and a lot of people didn’t bother. And as a tie-breaker we asked everybody to guess the price of the Dog Point. The results are in a Google spreadsheet here.

Looking at the people who judged the taste and not just the price of the wine, the results were close, but unambiguous: the best wine was C, the Massiac — more people judged it their favorite than any other wine, according to a show of hands I asked for, and it also got the highest average rating. It was certainly my favorite wine. The worst wine was D, the Dog Point.

No one really believes the efficient market hypothesis when it comes to wine: they know that Sancerre and Californian wines are generally more expensive. Still, when they ranked the wines, they tended to say that the ones they liked cost more, and the ones they disliked — especially the Dog Point — cost less.

Wines A and C — the two French wines, which were also the most and the least expensive wines respectively — both got 13 (out of 44) votes as being the most expensive wine, and both got 4 votes as being the cheapest. People clearly liked them. And people clearly didn’t think much of the Dog Point, which was voted cheapest wine by 17 people and second-cheapest by a further 16. Still, they didn’t think it was cheap cheap: the average price they put down for it was just over $20, surprisingly accurate.

No one got the exact right result (ABDEC), but two people came very close with ABCED, elevating the better Massiac and pushing down the less good Dog Point. Rolfe Winkler came in second place — he won the Jill Platner gift certificate — after guessing that the Dog Point cost $45 a bottle. That seems weird, since he also said it was the cheapest wine. But then again, we’d all had quite a lot to drink by that point. The winner, David Snowdon-Jones, was pretty much spot-on, guessing $22 a bottle. He also had something of an artificial advantage: he arrived quite late, and tasted all the wines systematically, instead of just drinking them in sequence like most of the rest of us. And his dad’s a sommelier.

But many congratulations and thanks to everybody for turning up on a rainy night — we raised a lot of money for the South Street Seaport pirate-flag public art exhibition, which means it’s definitely happening. Yay!

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40 Responses to White wine contest results

  1. Dr. Vino says:

    Hi Felix,

    Sounds like a fun event. I’m sorry I didn’t know about it!

    Since I didn’t know you were into wine, you might like to check out my recent post about a .

    Sorry if that seems too self-promotional but I didn’t see a contact form. And I agree with the other commenters, “good article.”

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  3. Harry Wood says:

    I found this blog interesting.Congratulation to the winner. In a rainy night people come for wine contest,this shows their love for wine. I don’t agree that everybody tried to rank the wines in order from most expensive to least. Actually people rank wine according to their taste . This type of contest are best for marketing / promoting your own brand .

  4. George Allen says:

    A pervasive and white pepper-spiced nose of plum tart, black cherries, smoked meat all permeated by a toasty oak float. Earthy and primeval, the palate is unlike any Pinot you’ve encountered. Packed and primed with smoky berries (huckle and olallie), the palate is littered with dried plum, cocoa, black truffle and Asian spices. The tannins are very in-your-face at the moment, but will sink into the package with about 6 months of cellar time.It tastes well with .

  5. Dog says:

    Thanks for such a good post. As a wine tasting beginner, this article is very helpful.

  6. Dog says:

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