Grand tasting at ZAP 2013
I could not taste truly blind at an event like this, of course, but I made sure to ask the kind pourers not to reveal any information about the wines, and I did not know their prices until after taking my notes. Since there was so much variety and so many wines, I will not post tasting notes of each wine I tasted, but rather mention some favorites, and focus on a short quantitative analysis of my ratings compared with the actual prices, which I learned afterwards.
Some of the excellent wines I tasted include:
- Grgich Hills 2008 Plavac Mali (a cross between Zinfandel and Dobričić)
- Dashe Cellars 2009 Louvau Vineyard and 2009 Florence Vineyards
- Frank Family Vineyards 2010 Napa Valley
- Chateau Montelena 2009 Estate (wow!)
- Dogwood Cellars 2011 Eagle Point
- Starry Night 2008 Caboose
- Peju 2009
- Saddleback 2011 Old Vine (wow!)
- The Prisoner 2011 Napa Valley
- Hendry 2010 Block 28
- Hartford 2011 Fanucchi-Wood Road Vineyard
- Rosenblum Rockpile
- Rock Wall Monte Rosso
- Ridge Pagani Ranch is always a pleasure
The above is, of course, just a taste (excuse the pun), since there were many wines I did not get to taste at all. In an event like this, it is a tradeoff between deep focus and wide coverage – I tried to truly focus on the wines I tasted, take notes, rate them blind, and combat palate fatigue by not overdoing it. I am glad I had the good fortune to try so many excellent wines! Many of the wines I tasted and did not list above were also very good, but I tried to limit the list to the very highlights.
Next, I will try to address the question: are price and quality correlated? As some of my readers know, my personal belief is that price and correlated truly are correlated for wines, but the correlation is strongest within region and varietal. Fortunately, the ZAP grand tasting was all about California Zinfandels, and although California has several regions with different price levels, most of my notes were for Napa and Sonoma wines.
So, to briefly summarize the result, my ratings show a strong correlation with price: Pearson’s r=0.48 (n=42), and see the scatterplot below. I remind the reader that all ratings were done without knowledge of the price.
Thanks again to ZAP for organizing a wonderful event. Not only was it an adventure of flavors and an educational experience, it was very well-organized and everyone I talked to at the event or later had a great time.
Looking forward to ZAP 2014!