It had a curious beginning. It came as an anonymous email from the Brand Action asking a select group of global bloggers to participate in The Label Project. This was shortly followed by the arrival of a lone book, The Catcher in the Rye, with a tongue in cheek note that we were about to embark upon a journey where we needed to focus beyond the label and uncover the true character of what was in the bottle.
Then the wine showed up – three individual boxes in total – a series of region and varietal clues for each wine along with aromatizers of scents that would help us navigate. I took out The World Atlas of Wine (the wine bible) and went to town. The wine clues were as follows:
This wine came with the following clues about its origins.
- It lies between two other major and much older wine regions
- Its macroclimate is cool but within the region there are many varied topographies, soils and mesoclimates
- It is famous for its fruit produce including cherries, pears and apples
- Hints of honeydew melon aromas
- A palate of lemon pith
- Underlying creamy texture
This one threw me off a bit. I got the honeydew and melon and was a little overwhelmed by the lemon scent (it reminded me of lemon pledge on the nose).
- Altitude of the region ranges from around 250-400 metres (approx 800-1,300 feet) above sea level
- In general, winters are cool and wet but summer days are warm, dry and sunny here
- It is very popular with wine tourists
- Spicy aroma of rich fruit cake
- Rich berry flavours with a hint of dark chocolate
- Velvety texture
I liked this wine. It was spicy and I got the rich fruit cake hint. I was torn on the varietal – I tasted elements of a Shiraz but wondered if it was a blend.
- The terrain is completely flat
- Its subsoil is an ancient marine bed
- It has a maritime influenced climate
Varietal tasting notes:
- Leafy aromas with a hint of mint
- Ripe cassis flavours
- A firm structure with good persistence on the palate
So then the unveiling which proved that my wine bible came in handy for region guessing but my palate was off on the varietals and a gentle reminder to trust my initial judgments. Again, showing that blind tasting is a humbling experience.
My guesses were a Verdelho from Hunter Valley OR a Semillon/Chardonnay blend. Both were totally wrong as it was an Adelaide Hills Chardonnay.
The second wine I guessed correctly – a shiraz from Barossa.
With the final wine I was correct with the region – Coonawarra – but the varietal was wrong. It was a cabernet sauvignon, which was my first guess, but I talked myself into thinking it was a zinger and guessed shiraz.
And, finally, who hosted this brilliant and well-funded promotion. The Label Project wines were revealed to come from Jacobs Creek Reserve. If you want to know more, click here to watch the finale video to find out more about these wine regions.