Wine Talk

Snooth User: VegasOenophile

Purple Problem

Posted by VegasOenophile, Feb 5, 2015.

I had a strange experience yesterday and am hoping someone might have some insight.

I have been enjoying and learning about wine for well over a decade now (seriously so) and have worked in the industry for a bit.  Numerous people have commented on the sharpness of my palate for wine and I have always had a pretty keen set of tasters.

This occurred once before when I tasted at Corison in St. Helena.  That time, I was shocked that my palate seemed to shut down and all the wines tasted the same.  And not only the same, like "purple."  Purple Jolly Rancher, purple Kool-Aid, whatever.  I tasted wines from other wineries before and after that and was able to find varietal characteristics and enjoyment. 

Yesterday, after a tasting with colleagues, we went to Corison and I was anxious to "try again".  Same thing.  The Gewurtz was alright, but the Cab Franc, Syrah and nearly all 4 cabs tasted like purple.  No varietal distinction, no character, no real profile. 

This is a well respected brand and I have even heard a "darling" of Somms.  Yes, she makes her wines in a leaner, lower alcoholic style. I drink a lot of European wines and regularly mix new and old world wines in my tasting, so I don't think I can blame it on inexperience with this style of red wine, nor can I have "house palate" from working in Napa.

I am thinking there's just something specific about my body chemistry and the chemistry in the wines from Corison, as this has never happened to me before.  Anyone out there have a clue what could be the cause?


Reply by dmcker, Feb 5, 2015.

Any chance she's using MegaPurple?

And welcome back, Vegas. It's been awhile.

Reply by EMark, Feb 5, 2015.

Very interesting.  If it only happens with Corison, then the question would be whether other tasters observed the same thing.

Another test would be to have somebody offer you, blind, a couple glasses of Corisons and a couple glasses of something else (or elses).

If you don't observe this with other makers, the conclusion is inescapable--the problem is not with you.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Feb 5, 2015.

Welcome back, indeed.

Ditto what Emark said.  I'm a big fan of controlled experiments. If it's unique to Corison, that should tell you.  Then you can try to figure out what is going on at that winery to cause that.

When I went to Piedmont, Cavallotto was the one place we went to that openly used rotovinifiers.  I could absolutely taste the terroir in the wines--each block (never mind vineyards, because most of their holdings are in Bricco Boschis) had its own profile.  But the influence of the rotos was unmistakable.  It will fade over time, I'd guess, but it was prominent.  It's always possible that Corison does something that their comparable wineries does not do.

VO, really glad to have you contributing. If I had any reason at all to be in LV, I'd be making a reservation for us to meet at Marche Bacchus, assuming it is still around. 

Reply by JonDerry, Feb 5, 2015.

Interesting Vegas...I tasted there with OT, actually a very extensive set of wines. One thing that stood out was the consistency, just like with any good, consistent winemaker, they should be, especially with CA almost always getting enough sun to ripen Cabernet (unlike in France, etc.)

Anyway, I was able to call out some minor differences among the Cabs, but truly enjoyed buying a few of the '06s and opening them years later on their own. 

Maybe try cellaring a couple bottles and see what happens down the road?

Sorry I can't offer a better possible explanation.

Reply by outthere, Feb 5, 2015.

Bite your tongue David! Kathy is a God of Old School Cab in Napa Valley. Most of her wines are pretty much shut down until age 8 or later. Maybe Vegas' palate does not deal with her style properly. Personally I haven't had any issues making distinctions between her wines. JD and I tasted there a couple years ago and I thought everything had a good showing. Some better than others but all high quality.

Another solo tasting for me.

I had an SQN Grenache a couple weeks back and it left me asking what's all the hype about with Sine Qua Non? Some wines just don't touch every palate.

Reply by VegasOenophile, Feb 5, 2015.

Thanks all, yes it has been a while.  Since moving to Napa, I am tasting constantly and I have way fallen behind on my rating/reviewing.

I suppose Kathy could use some process that disagrees with my palate and the 2005 and 6 vintages did seem somewhat better to me.  And it's not that I didn't like them. I wasn't able to determine that because I couldn't "taste" them.  Perhaps some particular acid that was pronounced in the wines adversely affects my palate, shutting it down.  Weird.

Richard, not in Vegas any longer, but Marché Bacchus is still there.

Reply by dmcker, Feb 6, 2015.

"Bite your tongue David!"

I had a bet with myself about who would rise to the bait. My money was on you, Brian, and you didn't fail!  ;-)

It seems that her stealthy 'shut down' phase is so effective it works all the way to Vegas(errrh, Napa?)'s palate. Impressive!

Reply by outthere, Feb 6, 2015.


"I had a bet with myself but who would rise to the bait. My money was on you, Brian, and you didn't fail. ;-)"


"Remember this: The house doesn't beat the player. It just gives him the opportunity to beat himself."

Reply by Richard Foxall, Feb 6, 2015.

VO, that means we have to get you to an offline, pronto.  And, if you are around next week, maybe Friday, we can have lunch up your way. 

Reply by napagirl68, Feb 8, 2015.

Hi VO,

Nice to see you here again.

I agree that what you experienced in disconcerting.  Especially with a solid producer.  I haven't tasted Corison lately, so cannot comment directly.  Could it be that the wine needs time?  Maybe you're tasting infants?   I am surprised since you say everything else is spot on for you.  My thought is that perhaps that particular wine is very young and undeveloped? Or perhaps you are used to a more oakey flavor?

That said, I have the experience of going back to solid favorites and been disappointed.  Perhaps this vintage did not hit your palate.

Are you taking any new medications or nose sprays? Or vitamins/supplements? If that were a factor, I would think most wines would be "off", but then again, after I was pregnant, I HATED my fav winery, but others were ok.  Thankfully that faded with time. 

Reply by outthere, Feb 9, 2015.

I know what happens with Vegas satys with Vegas but, are you pregnant?

Reply by VegasOenophile, Feb 9, 2015.

I would say it was interference, but again, the other wineries tasted at that day were fine.  Just this one brand's lineup.  So odd.

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