Leading the Blind: A Mystery Wine Tasting with the Master Sommelier


Kerry Jepsen
Master Sommelier Geoff Kruth at ICC 2015
Master Sommelier Geoff Kruth at ICC 2015

The intern stared at four reds and four whites. The Master glanced about the room mulling over his selections, sipping delicately and without pretense. All conclusions and assessments made in his mind swung at a gentle tempo, bossa nova.

Murmurs and preoccupation rang dissonantly off the walls, where attendees of this year’s mystery wine workshop grappled to connect grape to vine to soil, and even vintage, if they dared. Attendees mentally reached for any obtuse or definitive data produced from sensory experiences that lingered in some pastoral grove of memory. The Master, Sommelier Geoff Kruth of The Guild of Sommeliers, sipped.

And, when anxieties had reached a peak, The Master stepped forward, extending his capable hand, leading attendees over oceans, over terroir, through the entanglement of vines ancient and young, and through time itself.

“Wine 1,” the Master beckoned, and the intern snagged the white on the left.

“How’s the color?”

Golden?... golden.

“The nose?”

Fruity, stone fruits, peaches, grilled pineapples…

“The body?”

Uhhh it’s light...

“Let’s taste folks,”

Honey, grassy, sweet, herbaceous, stone fruits...


Oak… ummm…

“You can tell this is a young wine, ‘sun kissed’ comes to mind, no new oak on the wine, you can observe that this wine most likely comes from a region of moderate climate.”


By the time The Master had courted attendees to the reds, the intern realized why everyone around him was spitting into little buckets, and getting a mouth rinse with sparkling Vero water. 

“Wine 5,”

Oak? Yes a bit                         salty                                                                                           smoky, tobacco

                                    Red fruits, ripe fruit        slightly tannic 

                                                              Medium body                          Grenache?

                                                 Jesus, it’s eleven in the morning and I can still hear

                                                                 Sean screaming bloody murder over flip-cup

“Wine 6,”

                                                                 Sharp like a cheese or something,


                                    Mascerated but not jammy                                               molasses

Acidic                                                                                                                …like an old leather shoe…

                                                                    Bigger body, yes


And so it went.

Finally, the tour through reds and whites came to an end and The Master lifted the doily from his cheeky bottled secrets. The intern never had a chance, and drank his Vero in gulping quantities.

Blind wines, in order of pour:
Verdejo, Tres Olmos Lias, Garciarévalo, Rueda, Space, 2014
Verdejo, José Pariente Cuveé, Especial, José Pariente, Rueda, Spain, 2013
Verdejo, Belondrade y Lurton, Rueda, Spain, 2013
Verdejo, Menade V3, Menade, Rueda, Spain, 2011
Tempranillo, Aalto PS, Aalto, Ribera del Duero, Spain, 2012
Tempranillo, PSI, Pingus, Ribera del Duero, Spain, 2012
Tempranillo, Antidoto, Ribera del Duero, Spain, 2013
Tempranillo, Gran Reserva, Vina Sastre, Ribera del Duero, Spain 2009

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