If you happened to check out our blog post a couple weeks ago, then you probably know Danny and I signed up to participate in a blind Pinot Grigio tasting hosted by Barone Fini wines and WineTwits. But this wasn’t just any old blind taste test. Nope, this one was actually hosted over the interwebs on the WineTwits website via a live webcast from the NYC in-person event, and on Twitter using the hashtag #TasteChallenge.
I was very excited for this event, not only because I’m a wine lover, but also because I’m a digital / social media marketer and I thought this was a great, but daring marketing strategy. I mean, Barone Fini, being the challenger, must have been pretty damn confident their wine was superior enough to the unknown competitor to trust that a bunch of untrained taste buds would pick up on the differences and make the right choice!
After just a bit of confusion and a slight delay, the webcast kicked-off with the announcement that there were over 100 tasting parties participating out there in the Twitterverse. Gotta love technology! After a brief introduction from our WineTwits host and Barone Fini wine producer, Giovanni Bonmartini-Fini, we immediately jumped into the tasting.
We popped open bottle #1 and went through the standard tasting steps: sight, swirl, sniff, sip, and savor. Starting with the easy stuff, the color was a light/pale straw color. Upon swirling we noticed that it had some legs (and it knew how to use them… sorry can’t resist). Then a nice sniff, which is always the worst of my senses. Danny picked up some grapefruit scent, but hell if I know. Then, on to the best part, the sip and savor! My immediate reaction was, ooeew, a little sour for a Pinot Grigio. Now a typical Pinot Grigio does have a nice, clean citrus flavor to it, but citrus can have a pretty big range, and this was on the sour end. Maybe even a little green apple-ish. It definitely left a bitterness on the tongue that I wasn’t a huge fan of. Danny agreed. And of course I, who never questions my first instinct before I blurt out what I’m thinking, started tweeting that I was not really a fan. Then, all the tweets came in. It seemed 50/50 at first of people that liked it vs. didn’t, but we stuck to our guns. The more we drank it, though, the more we were open to the idea that this might pair well with a spicy dish or balance heavy summer BBQ dish. But still, we weren’t huge fans.
Then, onto bottle #2. A little darker in color, more of a golden straw tone, this wine also had legs. A little less of a citrus smell here, but again, I am really no good at this sniffing thing. Hey, at least I admit it! Now, onto the sipping and savoring. My immediate reaction, mmm, soft, smooth, creamy, just enough fruit with a nice mineral undertone. A wonderfully full mouthfeel, with a soft, gentle finish. Easily drinkable with or without food. Danny also agreed, so again, we tweeted away. We found it pretty funny that what some of us were tweeting for wine #1, others were tweeting here and vice versa. Just goes to show, wine is truly in the eye of the beholder. Again, super hard to tell from the tweet stream, but it seemed 40/60 split at this point, in favor of wine #2.
Now, for the exciting part: the big reveal. After everyone got their votes in, they began to unwrap the bottles from their paper sleeves, starting with bottle #1. Drum roll please…. bottle #1 was Santa Margherita, one of the most popular Pinot Grigios in the U.S., running at an average of $25 – $30 a bottle retail. Not really being huge Pinot Grigio fans, we had never tried this wine, but have seen it passed around at a party or two and have seen their TV commercials, which is very rare for a wine brand to do. So, this, of course, means bottle #2 was Barone Fini. YAY, we picked right! And, the best part? A far superior tasting wine in our opinion, and it costs half the price of Santa Margherita.
So, we would love to be able to tell you the definitive results, but WineTwits hasn’t posted them yet. Hmm, suspect? J/k. We’ll definitely keep checking in and update this as soon as we can. The results are in and we went with the overwhelming majority of around 70% of the tweeps going for Barone Fini! Overall, this was a pretty cool experience that we’d definitely do again. If anything, it’s great practice to train our palettes and learn how to describe the tastes and smells we’re experiencing.