[The bottles below were provided as samples for review purposes.]
As tactfully mentioned by the disclaimer above, I recently received a mixed six-pack of sampler bottles from the good folks at Mission Hill Family Estate winery in the Okanagan Valley. Two of these bottles, the 2011 Reserve Riesling and the 2011 Five Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, have received separate PnP review treatment over the past couple of weeks: see here and here for the full write-ups. But I couldn’t bring myself to split up the other four bottles and rate them separately, because it was clear that they belonged together, bound as they were by a common provenance: the family name Pinot. Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir all sat side by side in the MH sample box like a monochromatic grape rainbow, their shared forename a reminder of their common genetic ancestor (Pinots Grigio and Gris are the same grape, and both PG and Pinot Blanc are mutations of Pinot Noir, which is well-known for being genetically unstable). Since the fortunes of these bottles were clearly tied together, and since it’s July 2012 and our athletes are preparing to head off to London for the Summer Games, I did the only thing I could do and hosted the inaugural Mission Hill Pinot Olympiad at my house over the weekend.
In order: Grigio, Gris, Blanc, Noir. Let the Games begin.
Here’s how our game was played: I invited over a couple of fellow wine enthusiasts, opened all four bottles of MH Pinot, and we tasted through the lineup and separately ranked each of the wines as against its peers, individually coming up with our gold, silver, bronze, and, um, whatever’s below bronze (lead? aluminum? tungsten?) medal choices. I then added all of the placements together to come up with a cumulative judges’ score (for example, a wine ranked 1st, 2nd and 3rd by the three different judges would get a total score of 1 + 2 + 3 = 6); the lower the score, the better. The lowest total score won the overall prize, which basically meant that the bottle was emptied the fastest. We tasted the wines from whites to red, lightest to heaviest, and my notes below are in the same order. Who emerged victorious? Read on! Read the rest of this entry »