Unboxing wine.com's "Judgment of Paris" anniversary selections
In which my "personal sommelier" delivers 3 French and 3 US wines for an at-home face-off. I refuse to judge
Another in my curious unboxing-wine series, this time throwing the lid off the container that wine.com's "Picked" club sent this calendar quarter.
How the "Picked" wine club works
They send me 6 bottles every 3 months, each averaging $20. I like having wines selected for me. Left to my own devices with a budget of $15 to $20, I often wind up with a wet mop.
They say the bottles are picked by a real somm. Mine is named Jennifer. Maybe everyone's is named Jennifer. Maybe she's an algorithm.
Actually, Wine.com makes quite an effort to assert that they use real humans to match club members with wines, based on the member's ratings of previous ones.
Not this time, though. I think everybody got a similar selection.
Re-judgment of Paris?
In this case, on the anniversary of the famed Judgment of Paris, held May 24, 1976 -- where US wines beat French ones in a professional blind tasting for the first time -- wine.com sent 3 matched pairs: US and French picks each for Sauv Blanc, Cab, and Chardonnay.
USA: Silverado Vineyards 2019 Miller Ranch; 93 points, Tasting Panel
France: Clarendelle Inspired by Haut-Brion 2020 Blanc
USA: Oberon 2019
France: Chateau de Landiras 2018; 95 points, Decanter
USA: Jax Vineyards Y3 2020; 92 points, Wine Enthusiast
France: Joseph Druhin 2020 Bourgogne Blanc
Mis-Judgment of Paris
Sadly, opening two bottles for side-by-side tasting was beyond my patience. I'd have to have gathered at least two friends to do an attentive tasting each time, and most of my friends aren't geeky enough for that. And I wanted to dive in! So:
For this video, I tasted only the Oberon, undecanted. It was big with dark fruit, earthy, and pretty smooth for a $20 Napa cab. It's part of the Mondavi brand, surprisingly. I know they are trying to rehab the brand, but still.
Soon after, I tasted the Silverado Sauvignon Blanc. It had lovely effervescence; you can see the bubbles clinging to the inside of the glass. When I sipped, it felt like lovely shards of balsa on my tongue.
I swirled it, and the bubbles were gone. The wine then took on a pleasant neutrality, a sort rich, yeasty lemon pith. Wonderful wine, vivid tasting. Just not against the Clarendelle, its French counterpart. I took notes and will do my best to do an asynchronous comparison.
So far I'm pleased with the selection. And I like the idea of being surprised quarterly with fresh picks. Even when "Jennifer" isn't really doing the picking.