My last two experiences in blind tasting competitions, Vila Viniteca -where we did not qualify for the final-, and the Spanish Blind Tasting Championship, held at Gramona -where we came fifth-, have led me to this entry.
When you go blind tasting, there are wines that are more or less clear to you; others with which you are lost, because you can’t find the key witnesses; and others that you know are one of the two possibilities you are considering. It is here that you have to play heads or tails with the answer. After looking at the colour, sniffing, guessing, and reasoning the possibilities over and over again, making a decision with certainty is impossible. You have to go for the option that inspires you the most confidence, knowing that, afterwards, the certainty that you have made a mistake will haunt you like a vulture.
In Vila, there were two wines in this category. A pasture wine from La Riva, made with palomino fino, and a Monastrell from Casa Castillo. The former, because of its peculiar notes, we doubted whether it could also be a PX without a head. In the second, our first choice was monastrell, but then the shadow of mencía appeared. In the Spanish Championship, the doubt arose between a tempranillo from Pícaro del Águila and a mencía from Dominio de Bibei. On all three occasions the coin came up tails. If it had come up heads, at Vila we would have gone through to the final and at Gramona we would have won or been runners-up, depending on the vintage we finally chose.
The wines that you don’t manage to place are not the ones to worry about, you just become more aware that there are areas where you need to practice more. Nothing to reproach. You don’t know them, you fail and nothing happens, they are usually wines with which the rest of the contestants are in the same situation. But the heads or tails wines…, those really hurt, especially when you get tails several times in a row and the result could have been very different.
Anyway, that’s how it is. Tasting blind is very difficult. There are many nuances and possibilities in this puzzle of infinite pieces. Luck also plays a part, so we will continue to play in the hope that the next time it will come up heads. Because there is no doubt that there will always be wines that we will have to play heads or tails.