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Wing Lei Blind Wine Tasting

Another blind wine tasting came to pass. This time, it was held at Wing Lei, the Chinese restaurant at the Wynn Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. The Wing Lei’s stunning décor provided a perfect foil to the wine tasting event. Diego, Wing Lei’s sommelier, graciously welcomed all of us. Master Sommelier William Sherer of Aureole Las Vegas, the event’s mainstay Master of Ceremonies, presided over the tasting proceedings.

All French Reds Allowed except the Most Popular Red Wines

This blind tasting was all about French red wines, but there was a twist. All French red wines were welcome except Bordeaux, Burgundy and Cotes du Rhone. Now what kind of wine tasting is that? A great one, if you ask me, as it put everyone’s knowledge to test. Due to the stipulation that the popular French red wines be excluded from this tasting, we were left mainly with selections from Alsace, Loire Valley, Languedoc-Roussillon, South West of France, Corsica and Provence – in other words, French red wines we rarely drink. For me, it was this that made the Wing Lei blind tasting very interesting.

Placing Wines in Blind Tasting

In a blind wine tasting, you need to recognize particular characteristics or aromas if you are to successfully place a wine. For example, if you smell the aromas of strawberry, raspberry and rose in a particular wine, you’ll have to place each of the aromas in turn.

You know that strawberry is an aroma that is characteristic of Loire Valley and Languedoc-Roussillon wines. Raspberry is another scent that is present in all Loire Valley and Languedoc-Roussillon wines. Based on the aromas of strawberry and raspberry, therefore, you can say that the wine can come from either Loire Valley or Languedoc-Roussillon.

The rose aroma is the deciding scent. If you know that the scent of flowers like rose and violet are a characteristic of Loire Valley wines but not of Languedoc-Roussillon wines, you will be able to make the correct call: the wine can only come from the Loire Valley.

This process of elimination sounds simple. However, it takes lots of practice to perfect this strategy – hence the importance of taking the time to train your nose. This is, in fact, only a small part of the methodology I use when trying to place wines at blind tasting events. The wine’s color, viscosity, and alcohol content, among others, also have to be assessed and evaluated, especially when you cannot decide based on the aromas alone.

A Blind Wine Tasting Exercise

The following is a small exercise that explains how I evaluated and placed a particular wine at the Wing Lei blind wine tasting:

A practical breakdown of a new wine:

Red wine, ruby color, pink rims, medium viscosity, clear, bright with aromas of blackberry, raspberry, clove, dark chocolate and smoke, meaty in mouth with medium plus to plus acidity, not quite balanced

Wine Analysis:


2004 Sainte Eugenie AOC: Corbieres (Languedoc-Roussillon) In a nutshell, that is how it’s done.

The next Tuesday night blind wine tasting has been scheduled. It will feature classic wines from all over the world. Unfortunately, I will not be able to make it to that tasting as I have wine tasting events to attend in Switzerland and Italy.

I will update you on my trip soon. That’s all for this wine tasting!