Improv Wine Tasting

Hello Kansas Citians!

Ward Parkway surprised me tonight with an improv Costco wine tasting event! He set out three 1.75 liters of Costco-purchased wine. And yes, it was only the best $10 wine money could buy: three bottles of California’s Twisted Old Vine Zinfandel, Australia’s Yellow Tail Shiraz, and Chile’s Frontera Cabernet-Merlot. There was also a plate of cheese and crackers! He really outdid himself this time.

In glasses next to the cheese and cracker plate, he’d poured samplings of each of the three wines. He placed a pad of paper and a pen nearby so I could taste and then record my preferences. I worked my way left to right, sniffing and tasting. The first two, the Frontera and the Shiraz, were pretty dry. That’s my preference in a red wine, an absence of sweetness, strong hints of oak and, and very dry. These two wines were actually quite similar in taste and I had a hard time distinguishing between them. I chose the Shiraz, though, as my favorite of the two.

The third wine, the Twisted Zin, was by far the sweetest of the three. This would be expected, from a zin. It had the exact same, dark red appearance of the other two wines, so visually I could not tell them apart. It was much sweeter and had less of a bite. Not my favorite. I guess if I were a chick, I’d prefer the fruitiness. Definitely a weaker, more “girly” drink. It almost needed some Canadian Club. A bit fruit-punchy. Not my preference. It would have made a good wedding wine.

Ward had me leave the room so he could mix the glasses up a bit. A few moments later, he called me back to the “wine tasting area” (kitchen) and had me try again. I immediately identified the Twisted “girly” wine. Set it aside. The other two gave me trouble. They were similar. Smokey. Oaky. Dry. I still chose the Yellow Tail Shiraz over the Frontera Cab/Merlot. The Shiraz was a bit drier and slightly more flavorful. Difficult for me to tell, however, as they were very close in taste for my “undeveloped” palate – which is weird to me, as I’m a self-described Wine-O. Maybe the boxed wine I typically consume has altered my taste buds.

I then mixed up the glasses for Ward Parkway a few times and he also did not like the Twisted Zin. He could pick it out quickly with its fruity essence. Like me, he had difficulty identifying the other two wines, which led me to believe that my observation of “similarity” was accurate. He eventually chose the Frontera as his favorite $10 bottle of Costco wine.

There were others we could have purchased at that price point, but for now, we’ll stick with the Yellow Tail or the Frontera--which ever is on sale. They both seem to be a good bargain for a foreign wine and they're pretty darn tasty.

And as Kathy Griffin’s mom would say (about a box of wine), “Tip it!”
*Raising my glass(es)* Here’s to YOU!

Reporting from Seattle,
Wes Port

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