Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Argon Experment - Round 1 Results

So it was a full six days before we got an opportunity to complete round 1 of my argon wine preservation test. I made the preparations last Tuesday, and here it is Monday night as we sit down to taste what happened. In preparation, I opened the fresh bottle and poured off enough so that all three bottles had about the same fill. I put each in a paper bag and then asked Mona to mix them up and label them each with either A, B, or C. Neither of us knew which bottle was which.

  • 2007 Cameron Hughes Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 136 - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Argon Experiment - Bottle A - Dark garnet with a translucent rim. Reticent cedar on the nose. Medium full bodied and fairly soft with black currant and sweeter black berry fruit.

  • 2007 Cameron Hughes Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 136 - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Argon Experiment - Bottle B - Dark garnet with a translucent rim. Black currant fruit and secondary cedar on the nose. Still somewhat reticent. A touch of extra spice on the nose. This seemed to show a sense of extra acidity and better verve than bottle A. Black currant and sweet berry fruit. This was our consensus favorite.

  • 2007 Cameron Hughes Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 136 - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Argon Experiment - Bottle C - Dark garnet with a translucent rim. Bit funky smelling with a notion of rubber, alcohol, and pepper. Overall somewhat reticent nose. Soft black currant with a bit of red fruit liqueur. Mona suggested a little earthiness. This is a bit innocuous. Consensus least favorite. In hindsight and light of the unveiling, I think this is a bad bottle.


After the unveiling, we were pretty shocked.
Bottle A - Gassed with argon
Bottle B - No Argon, just recorked
Bottle C - Fresh bottle

Clearly I need to rethink which wines to test with. I would not have expected a recorked bottle to be in this good of shape after six days open. I also think that the fresh bottle was off in some way. It didn't taste like any of the bottles of this wine I have opened previously, including the fresh components from Bottles A and B when I made arrangements for the test. All three wines were completely drinkable, but we both preferred Bottle B to the other bottles and least liked bottle C.

I guess the wine I chose was youthful enough and with enough structure to withstand sitting relatively exposed for six days without significant decline. I think for my next test I will have to choose something a little more fragile.

Furthermore, the way Bottle A tasted, makes me question whether the argon may be doing some damage to the wine's aromatics. Things to think about, for sure.

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