Archives for January 2016

Vino Rouge Red Wine Tasting January 6, 2016

Happy New Year folks! After the vertical of Penfolds Grange last year, it will be a hard year to top, but we are all willing to give it a try. The January Vin Rouge meeting took place on January 6th at a new venue, Bistro 9 in East Greenwich, RI, which is the clubhouse for the 9-hole East Greenwich Golf Club.

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This month’s host was Ray H., a Founding Member. To those of us that are newer members, we all know that a Founding Member Hosting will result in a tasting with some surprises and most often offer a learning experience!
The wine line up when poured, showed that there was a consistent pattern in color depth and a strong possibility of a single varietal. The range of comments by the group suggested it could be Pinot Noir, Burgundy, CDP, or perhaps Nebbiolo, but no one suggested a wine from Spain.

When the choices for favorites began those present gave a strong lead for glass number 3 with twenty points! The second choice came in for glass number 6 with eighteen points and glass number 1 received five points. Glasses 4 and 5 got 6 points each for a tie for third place.

When the wines were unwrapped, we found that we were drinking a vertical of very highly rated Rioja Alta wines from the same producer/region. With vintages from 2001 to 2006 represented.

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These wines are all made from Tempranillo, and some blended with minor quantities of Manzuelo or Garnacha. The taste will give you a flavor of leather along with cherries with a finish which is mild, smooth and lingers with tannin on both sides of your mouth. Good vintages (as provided by Ray H) show full body mouth feel and a modest alcohol level.

Here was the lineup…

2006 Vina Arana Reserva – Glass 1; Rating 94 (RP); Drink 2015-2035; Cost $21-50; 13 % Alcohol

The 2006 Vina Arana Reserva is a blend of Tempranillo with 5% Mazuelo (a.k.a. Carinena) fermented with natural yeasts and had a slow malolactic fermentation of 56 days after which the wine was put in barrel in July 2007 where it matured for three years, being racked every six months before being bottled in December 2010. It feels like a ripe red with notes of forest floor, dark cherries, spices and hints of leather, hung game, smoke and toasted noted. The palate is lush and polished, with a velvety texture and moderate acidity. It is ready to be enjoyed now and able to stand the test of time.

2005 Vina Arana Reserva – Glass 2; Rating 93 (WA); Drink 2012-2020; Cost $21-$37; 13 % Alcohol

The 2005 Vina Arana Reserva has a fresh bouquet of orange blossom, quince, violets and dark cherries. The palate is succulent on the entry with vivacious maraschino cherry, red currant and blood orange. It displays a very fine build and a silky smooth texture that segues to a poised, mint-tinged, bright and animated finish.

2005 Vina Ardanza Reserva – Glass 3; Rating 94 (RP); Drink 2015-2035; Cost $21-$25; 13.5% Alcohol

Cropped from a vintage deemed almost perfect, the 2005 Vina Ardanza Reserva follows the same varietal mix found in the last vintages: 80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha. The grapes are always sourced from the same vineyards, 30-year old Tempranillo from Fuenmayor and Cenicero in Rioja Alta and Garnacha from Tudeililla in Rioja Baja. In the case of the 2005, it was racked six times during its elevage. The one bottle I tasted first was a bit evolved with plenty of cigar ash, incense and leather along with hung game (woodcock came to mind). But the palate was drying out a bit. Another bottle showed much fresher, with a great classical Rioja profile.

2004 Vina Ardanza Reserva – Glass 4; Rating 93 (WA); Drink 2012-2020; Cost $30; 13.5% Alcohol

The 2004 Vina Ardanza is a blend of 80% Temranillo and 20% Garnacha from 30 year old vines in Fuenmayor and Cenicero. It is aged for 36 months in four year old American oak. It has a very enticing bouquet with dark cherry, Christmas cake, dried fig and espresso with fine delineation and bags of exuberance. The palate is medium bodies with taut tannins, underpinned by a keen citric thread that cuts through licorice-tinged, dark berry and allspice tinged fruit with style.

2004 Gran Reserva 904 – Glass 5; Rating 96 (WA); Drink 2016-2024; Cost $39-$60; 13% Alcohol

This 2004 from a suburb vintage shows a beautiful light red color with a brick rim and a suburb nose of balsamic woods, spices, leather, well-hung meat, incense and truffles. The light to medium bodied palate shows fully resolved tannins, great acidity and pure, pungent flavors that linger in the mouth forever and that only can be Rioja. This is a wine to smell over and over again.

2001 Gran Reserva 904 – Glass 6; Rating 64 (RP); Drink 2005-2040; Cost $42-$97; 12.5% Alcohol

The 2001 Gran Reserva is a dark ruby colored wine with a garnet rim. It displays a lovely nose of Asian spices, incense, tobacco, balsamic and blackberry. On the palate, it has exceptional depth, layers of spicy black fruit, excellent ripeness and an elegant personality.

The meal we had was also exceptional!

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