Wednesday, 30 November 2011 16:57

Experts Can’t Tell Wine Made at Fermentations From Commercially-Available Brands

Think you can tell the difference between a bottle of wine you make yourself at Fermentations from store-bought wines? Think again.

On November 8, 2011 Fermentations held a blind tasting challenge at Globe Bistro. Wines were organized into six flights by region and varietal, with each flight comprising four popular wines purchased from the LCBO and one wine made at Fermentations. The judges included wine expert Alan McGinty, sommelier and wine consultant Zoltan Szabo, and wine bloggers Michael Di Caro and David Fang.

Overall, 60% of the time the experts were not able to identify the Fermentations wine as the non-commercial brand. Instead, they frequently identified one of the commercial brands as homemade. The score sheets also revealed that though the judges felt that it was “obvious” which was the homemade wine 73% of the time, half of those guesses turned out to be incorrect.

Fermentations Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot were sampled alongside popular Niagara wines as well as imports from Italy and California. The store-bought wines ranged in price from $14 to $34. (Compare to approximately $7 per bottle at Fermentations.)

In the white wine categories, the experts preferred Fermentations Chardonnay over Penninsula Ridge; Fermentations Riesling over Cave Springs and Henry of Pelham; and Fermentations Sauvignon Blanc over Jackson Triggs.

The red wines did even better. One expert wrote on his evaluation sheet that Fermentations Cabernet Franc is “savoury and food-friendly” and scored it equal to the bottle from Inniskillin. In the category Merlot blends, another expert noted that Fermentations Merlot was "full bodied, with good structure and balance, and oak finish," and gave it the same score as the most expensive bottle of Italian Merlot in the flight. And in the flight of California Merlots, one expert preferred Fermentations Merlot to Berringer Founder's Reserve, which he described as “awful”.

When the experts gathered after the event to discuss the wines, Zoltan Szabo commented that the Fermentations entry was best in the flight of Merlot blends, a flight which included a bottle of Bolgheri Micheletti that retails for $19.95, and said, “The Fermentation reds could be mistaken for any commercial wines.”

Added Alan McGinty, “Several of the Fermentations wines scored quite closely behind commercial wines averaging more than twice the price, but the big surprise for me was the Fermentations wine beating four commercial wines in the Italian Merlot blends category.”
The secret behind the high-quality wine at Fermentations is the grapes—real grapes brought in from the Niagara region, California, and Europe. The wine experts proved it: Wine you can make yourself at Fermentations is equal in quality to many popular wines you’re buying from the liquor store, and less than half the price.

In business since 1993, Fermentations is Toronto’s most popular brew-on-premises store for people who are passionate about great wine and beer. Fermentations gives people the opportunity to produce micro craft wines and beer from premium raw materials, and to enjoy world class libations at a fraction of the usual retail cost.

Fermentations is located at 201 Danforth Avenue.

For more information contact:
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