The Family that blind tastes together, stays together: Battle of the Pinots

Ou sorry followers. Between switching workplaces and finishing up my latest Diploma Unit I’ve let my blog slip between my fingers a little.

All work and no play is no fun, so I took the weekend off to celebrate my lovely parents 35th wedding anniversary at our family cottage. 35 years is kinda of a big deal this day and age so I wanted to get them something special but my parents are the worst to buy for.
A 35 years plate thing? I think they are tacky as hell.
After a few exhausting pinterest searches (man, there is a whole lot of ugly on that website). I gave into the expected and got them some wine.

After another exhausting search of the “flagship” Vintages LCBO here in Ottawa. I decided I wanted to find them a few bottles of my favourite variety. Can you guess it by now?
Pinot Noir, god damn I love a good glass of Pinot. The idea was to share that love with my loved ones.

I wanted a NZ Pinot Noir, its the variety and the country that sparked my love for wine. The location I was in is the biggest Vintages/LCBO in my region and it’s NZ section was dismal. I found a Bel Echo by Clos Henri for $22.95, aside from the typical Cloudy Bay/Dog Point it was the only Pinot I thought might be the best bang for the buck in the shop (honestly, it was a sad sight).

Then I thought to maybe find an Australian Pinot… think again
Plan B was to re-visit Californian Pinot Noir as my first round at the California Tasting Day was a bit of a miss.
I ended up picking up a Marimar Estate Mas Cavalls Pinot Noir 2009 for $42.95.

Dinner was on it’s way and I had a lightbulb moment. Two of the same varietal? Different Countries? image-14

Blind taste time…





…mind you it wasn’t a perfect blind taste with a 2012 $20-25 New Zealand wine up against a 2009 $40-45 Californian. However it wasn’t my intention to taste blind when I originally purchased them so off we went.

Battle of the Pinots

Marimar Estate Mas Cavalls 2009 Sonoma Coast, California VS Bel Echo by Clos Henri 2012 Marlborough, NZ


Wine 1

Look: Ruby, Light Watery Rim
Nose: Med Intensity, rasberry, spice (alcohol), earth, a little funk maybe mouldy (cork influence?) or brett
Palate: Med + acidity, med tannin, berries, high alcohol, med – body, blackberries, tobacco, a little smoke, med – finish
>>>>Drink now, potential to age

Wine 2

Look: Ruby slight garnet, darker then wine 1
Nose: Medium + intensity, berries (cherries), tabacco, loved this nose
Palate: Medium acid, medium tanning, medium + body,
medium + intensity, better oak integration then wine 1
>>>>Drink now, potential to age


It was a knock out winner with Wine 2 taking it out. Ok it wasn’t fair as there was clean indicators in both the wines of age and price point but was nice to hone in the old tasting skills.

Can you guess which is which? Put your thoughts in the comments below and i’ll announce the winner in the next few days.




6 thoughts on “The Family that blind tastes together, stays together: Battle of the Pinots

  1. Hi Jenna,
    People assume that Bordeaux ( Cabs) are the only wines that benefit from aging but I suspect that given the difference in vintage, the Marimar Estate Mas Cavalls won this one. If only the Château Gloria’s were more affordable I would spend my summers drinking the pinot noir.


  2. …Talk about a brain fart…since when do burgundies have a “château” appelation. what I meant to promote was the Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru. I guess that I’m more biased in favour of the bordeaux than I thought…

    • The elusive brain fart 😉

      You guessed it! I think the Marimar had a few advantages out of the gates 😉
      New World Pinots with a little age get those earthy, forest floor, mushroom characteristics. It’s devine.
      Grand Cru is always nice but you can find a decent Pinot for under $40. The truth is out there.

  3. As promised here are the wines… *drum roll*

    Wine # 1 – Bel Echo Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012
    Wine # 2 – Marimar Estate Mas Cavalls Pinot Noir 2009

    Good guessing done by all!!
    When I was tasting the garnet colour on Wine #2 was the give away from me.
    I’d love to see the Marimar beside an NZ Pinot or equal ageing…
    …you won this time California, next time you may not be so lucky 😉

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