Saturday, April 16, 2005

Friday Night Fights, "Leaping Lizard Cabernet" Inches Ahead

Leaping LizardThis week’s Friday Night Fights, the Friday evening blind tasting at Grape Vine Market in Austin, was again Napa Cabernet Sauvignon under (or around) $20. Last week there were four wines tasted and Big Ass Cab was clearly leading the charge. This week, there were only two wines tasted, with neither leading the charge all that much:

A. Leaping Lizard 2002 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $11.99
B. Freestone 2001 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon $20.49

I’m pleased when the wine I like is significantly less expensive than the other wine it’s compared to. Though I don’t think either of this week’s wines will fair that well in match-ups in the coming weeks – regardless of which ultimately took the night. Neither one was a standout. After selecting A, I got to see the names of the wines and other taster’s picks so far. A was ahead by only 4 votes. Generally it was pretty evenly split by the folks that had been tasting up to that point and in fact 3 people had essentially abstained because they didn’t like either one of them.

Personally, I thought the Leaping Lizard was much more fun. It didn’t have that much depth or complexity to it but it was a pleasing inky red color with blackberry fruitiness, decent balance & medium finish. The Freestone was more astringent and when I took that first whiff it immediately gave off what I can only describe as a metalic scent. Given that nearly half the other tasters chose this as the winner though, I wonder whether I just happened to get a some from a bad bottle. Given my clearly different opinion of the wines though, it’s another reminder that there are huge disparities in people’s tastes, and another reason why I like these blind tastings that Grape Vine has been doing.

About $12
only a one-glass rating, and yet I’m very likely to buy another of these simply because I thought it was pretty good for the price. Definite party buy and I would certainly recommend trying this one.


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