After spending a day smelling, swirling and tasting wines in Mendoza, we understand a little more about the differences between how cheap wines and expensive wines are produced. But we wondered: Could we taste the difference for ourselves?
We had recently purchased a bottle of Caballero de la Cepa Chardonnay by Finca Flichman for 45 pesos ($10), which is at the upper end of our wine budget. Their low-end Malbec is one of our favorites and we remembered liking their cheap Chardonnay. But we just couldn't warm up to their Caballero de la Cepa, which we found too acidic. We thought maybe we just liked their cheaper wine better (Chardonnay Roble at 25 pesos). We decided to buy a bottle and find out.
BLIND TASTE TEST
Round 1: Ben tries a glass of each. He can't tell much of a difference but professes a slight preference for the cheaper wine.
Round 2: I try a glass of each and vote for the more expensive wine (which I had strongly disliked the night before). Ben isn't totally confident he didn't mix up the glasses.
Round 3: I try a glass of each and pick the cheaper wine.
Round 4: Ben tries a glass of each and picks the more expensive one.
So what did we conclude from our first blind taste test? Either that we are terrible sommeliers or that there's little discernible difference between the two bottles despite the price difference.
Finca Flichman says the Roble smells of pineapple, asparagus and vanilla, tastes of tropical fruits and offers a soft and persistent finish. The Caballero de la Cepa? Smells of pineapple, asparagus and vanilla, tastes like tropical fruits and oak and has a long, fruity finish. Sounds pretty similar to me. Maybe we aren't terrible wine connoisseurs after all.
Bottom line: We wouldn't recommend either. There are better Chardonnays from Argentina.