Brown Bagging: A Blind Tasting Experience

 Brown Bag Group

Before the holidays, a group of Dallas-based wine folks gathered together for our first brown bag tasting event.  We tried ten wines in an informal format at Campania Pizza in Uptown, who was generous enough to waive the corkage fee. 

The parameters were wide open – a red wine in the neighborhood of $20-25 a bottle.  I was really intrigued to see what the group would bring as it was a varied group of wine lovers – some formally trained and some self taught – all interested in continuing their journey with wine. 

Brown Bag Shots

Here was the line-up and my reactions:

  • Cooper L’inizio – 2008 (Washington).  After hosting Neal Cooper on his first Dallas visit last year and being impressed with Washington State wine at the Wine Bloggers Conference 2010, I thought I’d bring something that the rest of the tasters couldn’t get in Texas.  Note that I did break the rules a bit and bring a bottle that is now estimated to sell around $40 in very limited quantities.  Definitely in my top three wines.
  • Inwood Estates 2008 Cornelius (Texas) I admit it – I continue to struggle with the price point and payoff of this wine.  @jftxwine brought it as the zinger of the night and I tasted concrete and something sweet that didn’t work for me especially at $40.
  • Petalos Bierzo 09 (Spain).  I tasted blueberry, spice and a hint of floral, which may have been lavender.
  • La Vierge,” Cahors 07 (France), smoky, dark cherry, flinty, meaty and earthy.  This wine is referred to as the “French Malbec”
  • Mollydooker The Boxer (Australia) – After having the ability to spend some time with Sparky and Mum late last year, talking about these guys is like talking about family.  I tasted big berry, licorice, oak and cedar.
  • Bodini Malbec – 2010 (Argentina).  Berry, meaty, licorice abound in this juicy Malbec.
  • Toasted Head Cabernet Sauvignon 09 (California).  Cherry, cassis, coffee and some spice.
  • Haven’s Meritage 09 Rutherford (California).  Blueberries, vanilla, spice and a big juicy red.  Definitely in my top three wines.
  • Domaine Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage Blanc 09 (France).  Raspberry, cardamom, smoky with a little pepper.  On my top three list.
  • Pagos del Moncejo Garnacha 08 (Spain).  Cedar, spice, vanilla and cherry.

Brown Bag Havens

We had a great time, ate some really good pizza and enjoyed diverse wines from around the world.  Our next brown bag tasting is in early February and we’ll taste Pinot Noirs.  I just happen to have another surprise in store.