Research on this topic proved to be a severe case of tug-and-war. Some people believe it is important to not know anything about the wine you taste, while others believe that background knowledge of a particular wine is important so that a rational decision can be made.
The most important aspect of a blind tasting is that it is supposed to remove any bias feelings towards the reputation and the price of the bottle of wine. The focus should be solely on the contents of the bottle and the usage of your senses. You use your palette to taste the different flavours, your nose to smell the different aromas and your eyes to see what the wine looks like.
It is also a platform for less-expensive and less-renowned bottles of wine to get an equal foot in the door ‚ and possibly also do better than their superstar wine rivals.
When you do a blind tasting you won’t know anything about the wine you are drinking, but some feel this is completely illogical. They believe that it is necessary to know the vintage and the varietal of wines so that you can appreciate the wine even more and understand the context of the wine you are drinking.
Also argued, is the fact that consumers don’t taste blind, they drink with the full knowledge of the wine they are drinking. One could counteract this viewpoint by stating that critics and winemakers go through blind tastings to ensure that consumers do not need to do a blind tasting, but that they can have faith in the value of a certain bottle of wine, no matter the price.
South Africa’s Indaba wine brand prides itself in doing annual comparative blind tastings. Indaba wines are crafted by consulting winemaker Bruwer Raats in a fresh, juicy, approachable style. The Indaba range is composed of Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Shiraz. These wines are only available in the USA.
The Indaba wine range is imported to the US by Cape Classics. Cape Classics is one of the preeminent importers of South African wines to the American market. Their goal is to focus solely on South African wine and importing a unique range of selections that are exciting and delicious and that offer outstanding value.
At an annual blind tasting, in New York, the Indaba Sauvignon Blanc outscored higher priced, well-respected Sauvignon Blancs including Mount Nelson from New Zealand and Montes from Chile. The Indaba Merlot topped category-leading Merlots from California’s Bogle Vineyards and Washington’s Columbia Crest. This reinforces the notion that price is important, but so is value.
The blind tasting, attended by Cape Classics executives, Raats and an influential retail partner, is an opportunity for the brand’s decision makers to evaluate how well the current vintage stacks up against competing brands in the USA.
“Our goal with the annual tastings is to ensure Indaba’s quality is as high, or higher, than the brands that lead the market today,” said Cape Classics President Rob Bradshaw. “With Bruwer in attendance, he is able to gain valuable insight and feedback, and then make the necessary winemaking decisions to keep Indaba a leading brand, known for its quality and value.”
Cape Classics’ approach and general viewpoint of blind tastings are commendable and introduces a different, positive viewpoint towards blind tastings- that of a platform which inspires the development of their brand.
The annual Best Value Wine Guide is another event that relies solely on blind wine tasting and tries to find the best South African wines for less than R80. This year they received more than 1 100 entries and nine of South Africa’s most prestigious wine judges did the blind tasting. The Best Value Wine Guide’s mission is to uncover wines that offer the best value-for-money at less than R80, and to reinforce the idea that cheaper wines aren’t just pocket friendly, but might just be the best wine you have had all year!
South Africa’s Best Value wines will be announced on 27 August so keep an eye on our website for details.