Our 1st battle: 2007 Yalumba Shiraz Viognier vs. Ninety Plus Cellars Shiraz Viognier
We are so excited to report back from our 1st ever Wine Among Friends Battle of the Bottle. There is much to discuss about this battle but you are going to have to read through to discover our declared winner. Let’s begin with the disclaimers: we are not scientists and therefore do not know how to run a proper scientific study, we are in no way expert wine tasters, and we didn’t spit out the wine after tasting as we are not those kind of tasters. This battle and those to come are just fun ways for us discover what we like and don’t like. Also, it is a way to decide which wines we would recommend to each other and to feel comfortable in a wine shop with our choices. Okay, now that is out of the way let’s get to the battle. The Friends went to a tasting on Saturday at our local wine shop and tasted the Yalumba Shiraz Viognier. This sparked Drunk Mama to recall that one of our favorite labels, Ninety Plus Cellars, had a Shiraz Viognier lot and having that label in our first battle would be appropriate. Both bottles had the price tag of approximately $13. On Sunday evening Drunk Mama and Mudpie sent the husbands out the door to a superbowl gathering, fed and put the children to bed, and Cellar Mouse joined them at Mudpie’s house to have dinner and let these bottles duke it out.
Mudpie arranged 2 carafes and 6 wine glasses. She labeled the bottom of the carafes A and B and recorded the corresponding bottle assigned to each. She then poured each bottle into the carafe to let them breath and to give herself time to forget which carafe held which wine.
This is where Mudpie began to fret. See one of the selected wines had a telling line of bubbles at the top of the wine in the carafe (see photo to the right). Cellar Mouse and Mudpie tried their best to come up with ways for Mudpie not to know which wine she was drinking and their best idea was to let Drunk Mama pour the wines into the glasses and only she would know whether we were drinking A or B first. Only Mudpie would know if it actually worked. After all of the setup and fretting we were ready to taste as we really needed a drink. The first round began with a silent tasting. We all tasted and recorded our thoughts. Then we tasted the next wine and did the same. We did one more tasting of each before moving on to the second round, goat cheese. We tasted each wine with plain goat cheese on french bread. Finally, the third round of tasting we openly discussed our notes.
Much to our surprise the Yalumba won!
We found the Yalumba astringent at first but had tones of vanilla, very bright notes and it finished better than the Ninety Plus Cellar. The Ninety + just seemed a little flatter and finished with the alcohol. Cellar Mouse thought that the Ninety + went with the goat cheese well and didn’t compete with the cheese but overall the Yalumba was just more pleasant. It should be noted that we thought both were great. We would recommend both but if we were trying to decide between the two at the store we would pick the Yalumba.