Vino Rouge Red Wine Tasting February 4, 2015

As expected, Steve Carlino had a great show of wines! An Italian theme of excellent red wines the I can still taste as I write this!!!

red wine reviews

Straight to the preference poll…

Our first place wine was a 2005 Tenuta dell’Ornellaia Bolgheri Superior Ornellaia. A fantastic Red Bordeaux Blend, displaying beautiful aromas of ripe fruit, with currant, plum and blackberry. This complex and full-bodied Tuscan red has soft, polished tannins and a long, long finish. Wine Spectator gave it 95 points.

Second place wine was a 2009 Tenuta di Nozzole Chianti Classic Riserva. Another excellent Sangiovese Blend wine. A big dark chewy red wine bursting with dark cherries, licorice, tobacco, smoke and dried flowers. This hearty, full-bodied Riserva is long on personality and sheer character. Wine Advocate gave it 90 points

Third place wine was a 2005 Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornettia, a Red Bordeaux Blend. This 2005 Le Serre Nuove is the second wine of Ornellaia. In top vintages it is the hidden gem in this line up from a price to quality perspective. The 2005 reveals gorgeous aromatics along with sweet black cherries, black berries, spices, smoke and toasted oak. It is a delicate and feminine wine to enjoy over the next decade or so. Wine advocate gave it 90 Points.

Although not placing in the top three, the remaining three wines were just as good and included…

1997 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli, a nice Sangiovesi. A deep garnet color accompanies huge, sweet aromas of roasted herbs, red and black currants, cherries, earth, incense and tobacco. A chewy and full bodied wine that can go another 7 years. Wine Advocate gave it a 93.

2007 Castello di Monsanto, a Chianti Classico Reserva. A ripe juicy red with lots of black cherry and blackberry fruit. Tannins are well coated by fleshy fruit and it lingers with a long spicy aftertaste, drinking through 2022. Wine Spectator gave it a 92.

The last wine was a 2004 Casanuova delle Cerbaie Brunello di Montalcino, another Sangiovese. This is an earthy full bodies wine with aromas of roses and other flowers, leather and grilled herbs. On the pallet flows decadent berry and mushroom flavors, with a firm structure. Wine Advocate gave it a 93.

red wine reviews

You can see here that was also had a nice dessert wine. Specifically, thanks to Steve, we also enjoyed a 2004 Badia a Coltibuono Vin Santo del Chianti Classico Occhio di Pernice.

The tasting was held at the Aurora Club, which was outstanding!!! The club feasted on fried clams and cheese tray appetizers, followed by some soup and salad, an entree of choice and only to be capped off with a platter of biscotti for dessert with Espresso.

Vino Rouge Members

STEVE CARLINO
Founding Member

TOM GUERRA
Founding Member

RAY HARRISON
Founding Member

VINCENT JACQUES
Founding Member

NORM THIBAUDEAU
Founding Member

red wine club

DONALD OLDMIXON
Elected Member Sept 2008

THOMAS P CLARKIN
Elected Member Sept 2008

JOHN BENEVIDES
Elected Member May 2009

JAY CHELO
Elected Member Feb 2011

RICHARD MACERA
Elected Member Oct 2012

About Vino Rouge

This website is devoted to our late mentor and sponsor, Harold S. Russo, who was instrumental in bringing this Wine Club into being back in 1993.  The Wine Club was originally chartered under the name Vino Rosso, but reorganized and changed it’s name to Vino Rouge in 2008.  As you can tell from our club’s name(s), the most important rule in the club is “red wine only”.

red wine club

Our Wine Club consists of twelve members, six of which are founding members, who meet on the first Wednesday of every month.  While during the first several years of existence, each club meeting was held at the former Little Inn in Johnston, Rhode Island, the red wine club now meets at various “bring your own” restaurants and clubs around the State.

On a rotating schedule, each member has a chance to host a monthly meeting, where they will bring six red wines for the group to share, typically with an associated theme.  Themes have varied from being all from one country (i.e. Italy, Australia, France, etc.), being one particular varietal (Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, etc.), being of a particular age or any combination of these.

Red wines are always brought masked in paper bags, so that members are tasting the wine ‘blind’. Each month, a preference poll for first and second place wines takes place, after initial tasting but before unveiling, so that there is no bias in the votes.  After the votes are tallied and a club favorite and second favorite is chosen, the wine is always had with great food, where the wine is enjoyed even further.

The Wine Club also has several special events each year, which are highlighted an annual vertical tasting of a prestigious vineyard and a Christmas Party that involves a “show-off” wine contest.

Glad you could visit our

red wine club

Vino Rouge Red Wine Tasting October 1, 2014

I have to say that the tasting lineups we are sharing seem to be getting bette and better! This week’s meeting was held at “Tavola da Siena” in Smithfield and is one of Don’s favorite Restaurants. It was nice to have the private Wine Room to ourselves, and I heard many positive comments about the food and the service.

I think Don’s theme was apropos as he wanted to share wines that were in the ready to drink range and represented his cellar collection. All were excellent save for the 2001 Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape that seemed to have aged before its time. We may never know what happened to this wine that was projected to continue drinking until 2025?

red wine tasting

The preference poll winner was the 2002 Torbreck RunRig, which is 97% Shiraz with 3% Viognier co-fermented, presenting a rich, concentrated, impressive wine. Blind comments were that it had a Paso Robles / ripe fruit warm climate character. I guess Barossa Valley is also a warm climate region. The runner up preference choice (by only one point) was the Luca Beso de Dante Malbec and Cabernet blend from Argentina and bringing up third was the Bacio Divino “super Tuscan” style blend fashioned in Napa Valley. So it was an International victory.

Don also surprised and spoiled us with a bottle of 40 year old Tawny from Taylor Fladgate that was especially yummy. Thanks for sharing the good stuff Don!

red wine tasting

At Don’s suggestion, we introduced a variation on the tasting notes sheet, with provisions for scoring the different sensory categories and coming up with a point score for each wine. I think it allows you to better compare which characteristics of a wine you liked better. This technique needs practice to let you calibrate point scores with the pros.

It was also great to have Norm Thibaudeau back in the group after a 6 month LOA. Salute!

Vino Rouge Red Wine Tasting September 3, 2014

Well Rick really fooled the club with a fabulous tasting of Washington State Wines! The meeting was held at the Valley Country Club and what a great night it was. Washington State wines are very interesting and were consistently well liked by the entire club. After tasting the wines blind and taking the monthly preference poll, we all enjoyed a nice dinner which consisted of Soup or Salad; Family style Appetizers: Fried Calamari, Stuffed Mushrooms; Choice of Entrée: Chicken Caruso; Haddock Panko; or Valley Baby Back Ribs. Served with Green Bean Aglio Olio w/ Cheese Risotto; Coffee or Espresso.

The following graphic shows the wine growing regions in Washington.

red wine tasting

Here was the line-up in order of preference.

red wine tasting
Quilceda Creek Galitzine Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Even more concentrated, structured and dense than the Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Galitzine Vineyard (99% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Merlot all from the Red Mountain AVA) delivers an incredible array of black currant, dark chocolate, cedar, tobacco and assorted spring flower-like nuances that give way to a massively concentrated, tannic and structured 2010 that has brilliant mid-palate depth, integrated acidity and a pure, detailed and energetic texture that carries through the finish. As with the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, this is more fun to taste than to drink presently and needs 5-6 years or more of bottle age to round into form. It too will have two to three decades or more of ultimate longevity. Drink 2018-2035. 97 by Robert Parker

red wine tasting
Col Solare Columbia Valley 2007 – 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc

The 2007 Col Solare exhibits aromas of black cherry, currant, and ripe black berries, together with subtle notes of espresso and vanilla in the nose. On the palate, this full bodied wine is rich with flavors of dark chocolate, black fruits, and a coconut spice which leads to a lingering, silky finish.

red wine tasting
2011 K Syrah “The Beautiful” — Walla Walla Valley – 95% Syrah, 5% Viognier – Cofermented

“This got a big “Wow!” in my notes. Floral, perfumed and elegant, with copious raspberry, white pepper and spice nuances, it flows onto the palate with a seamless, ethereal texture, silky tannin and no hard edges. Already approachable and a total thrill to drink, it should continue to impress for over a decade.

red wine tasting
Cayuse Syrah En Chamberlin Vineyard 2010

A 100% Syrah and always the most exotic and wild of the lineup, the 2010 Syrah En Chamberlin Vineyard has the Cayuse peat moss, iodine, underbrush, olive brine and gamey qualities on full display. Blossoming in the glass and showing a core of sweet fruit, it has a rich, substantial feel on the palate with a concentrated, full-bodied mouth feel, brilliant mid-palate depth and a focused, detailed finish that carries ample finely polished tannin. Very gamey and bloody on the palate, this singular beauty will be better in another year or three and thrill for 15 years or more.

red wine tasting
L’ecole No 41 Perigee Estate Seven Hill Vineyard 2010 – 82% Merlot/8% Cabernet Sauvignon/7% Cabernet Franc/3% Malbec

Layered with enticing aromas of plum and notes of violet, this full bodied Merlot shows a robust core of black cherry, blackberry, and cola on a seamless finish of fine-grained yet firm tannin. Lovely floral and clover notes arise, with bright berry and cassis fruit just behind. Sleek, detailed and long, this is a terrific value as well

red wine tasting
Betz Family Winery – Pere de Famille Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2010 – 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot

Leads with classic aromatic expressions of its star player: cedar box, juniper berry, arbor vitae, cassis, blackberry, and dark tobacco, all of which reprise on a luscious, savory palate underlain by ultra-fine tannin and possessed of vibratory energy. The sheer abundance of primary juiciness here – like the energetic ping to its enervating, reverberative finish – strikes me as especially typical of the best marriages of cepage and terroir, which happens to be precisely what Betz is wistfully referring to as “something that happens with Cabernet in Washington.” Something indeed! I would go easy on this for a few years and look forward to at least a decade of high performance.

Vino Rouge Red Wine Tasting August 4, 2014

This month featured a very interesting tasting by Tom Guerra, who surprised the club with a theme that was a big hit with all of the members. Why was it so much of a hit you may ask…because the theme was Past Number One Preferences, where Tommy revisited previous preference poll winners over the last several years. Here’s the picture of what we tasted followed by a description of each of these fine wines, with the first three in order of the preference poll.

red wine tasting

2006 Zenato Amarone – A proprietary belnd dry red table wine from Veneto, Italy, last presented by Tom Guerra in December 2013. Wonderful aromas of black licorice and blueberry lead to a full body, with juicy, round tannins. Luscious, decadent, massive towering wine bursting with black cherries, dried flowers, herbs and leather.

BenMarco Expresivo 2009 – A proprietary blend dry red table wine from Mendoza, Argentina, las presented by Jay Chelo in February 2013. 50% Melbec, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah, with the balance Tannat and Petit Verdot.

Peter Lehmann Shiraz Barossa Eight Songs 2008, Australia, last presented by Norm in February 2014. Ark and brooding, delivering a dense mouthful of dark berry, plum , peppery spice and licorice notes that come together on the medium-weight finish, which lingers with intensity.

Mount Eden Vineyars, Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains 2009, California, last presented by Tom Clark in April 2014. Young and Bordeaux-like in structure, with firm, gripping tannins, a mix of dried berry, game meat, tobacco and cedar and a tight, structured finish. A wine with an excellent record of aging.

2000 Les Ormes de Pez – a Bordeaux belnd dry red table wine from St. Estephe, Bordeaux, France, last presented by Vincent Jacques in March 2014. Fully mature, this nice chunky, fleshy wine displays plum and Christmas cake on the nose and notes of jus de viande, roasted herbs, plum sauce, black currants, and sweet cherries in a medium-bodies, savory, fruit forward style.

2006 Craggy Range Te Muna Road Vineyard Pinot Noir from Martinborough, Wairarapa, New Zealand, last presented by Tom Clark in February 2012. Refined, with excellent intensity to spice, berry, black cherry and rose petal accents. Fresh herb undertones, minerals and nicely integrated oak underscore the intense finish.

Vino Rouge Red Wine Tasting July 2, 2014

A very impressive vertical tasting put on by John Benevedes at the Valley Country Club, “Romeo Vineyards Sempere Vive “Eugenia” Napa blend – Calistoga”, 2002-2007 I must say, this was my first experience with these wines and I know the entire club were all very impressed after trying them out. These wines consist of a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot and will knock your socks off.

red wine tasting

According to the vineyard, their 43 year old vines lie south of nine acres of reservoir, sandwiched between two forested knolls, leading to the geographical conditions that create hot days and cool nights and an extremely long hang time in their Calistoga vineyard. This allows their grapes to develop full flavors, deep color and intense complexity. Their thick gnarled old vines are said to produce from their hearts!

After rolling through the entire vertical, the preference poll of the club was held and in our opinion, the best was the 2005, followed by the 2004 and third was the 2007. After the preference poll, we got to snack on Spinach Bruscetta over Garlic Crosini with Melted Mozzarella; Choice of Soup or Salad; Choice of three Entrees of Grilled Duck Breast with Blueberry Vodka Sauce, Haddock Francaise, Veal Marsala with Mushrooms, closing with Coffee or Espresso.

red wine tasting

Ours noses were pleased with dark and bold with aromas that leap from the glass, led by blackberry, braised plum, blueberry and black cherry. These are closely followed by sweet tobacco, dried fall leaves, sweet spice and a hint of black pepper.

Upon initial tasting, each of these wines were bold and hearty on opening,softening as they breathed. Flavors include rich mixed berry, black cherry, grilled fig, tobacco, spice, and dusty bramble. Really big, bold, long and chewy flavors that go on forever.

red wine tasting

For dessert, we had the distinct pleasure of enjoying a pre-1973 HEITZ “CELLAR TREASURE” PORT. That will be something the club will never forget, with chewy caramel, almonds, espresso and other gorgeous flavors coating the palate like a honey nectar.

red wine tasting

Vino Rouge Red Wine Tasting June 4, 2014

This was a very special annual tasting for our wine club, where we get together and pool our resources to put on a sensational vertical of the world’s best vineyards. This was was held at the Aurora Civic Association and was titled “A Special Vertical Tasting of P. Antinori Tignanello IGT Super-Tuscan”.

red wine tasting

At this very memorable event, we shared P. Antinori Tignanello’s or TIGS, as we like to call them, from 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2004. As the Grateful Dead would sing, “Nothing Left to Do But Smile Smile Smile”, which is what we were all doing after this blockbuster lineup!

The preference poll of the club lined up like this…1999, 2001, 2004, 2003, 1998 and 1997. We shared the wines with Cup of Soup or Special Appetizer, House Style Salad, Choice of Menu Entrée served with Pasta and Asparagus.

Here are the tasting notes for these wines…

red wine tasting

The 1997 Tignanello is at a fascinating adolescent stage, it is neither primary nor fully resolved but somewhere in the middle. The wine’s candied, super-ripe fruit is made more complex by subtle notes of smoke and sweet licorince. The aromas appear to be somewhat muted, a characteristic that is perhaps highlighted by the presence of slight barnyardy notes that suggest brett may have been an issue in this vintage. Readers who can tolerate the wine’s imperfections will find much to enjoy here still.

There were 30,000 cases of the 1998 proprietary red made from a belnd of 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. The 19987 offers a classic bouquet of berry fruit, new saddle leather, underbrush, earth, and toast from its barrique aging. Medium to full bodied, good delineation, and a firm classic style.

The deep ruby/purple colored 1999 Tignanello exhibits rare elegance married to considerable flavor intensity as well as power. Normally a belnd of 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc aged in French oak for 12 months, the 1999 offers up aromas of new saddle leather intertwined with black cherries, currants, creosote, vanilla and spice box. Rich and medium bodied, with adequate acidity as well as sweet but noticeable tannnin.

The 2001 TIG is an object lesson in how to make Cabernet work with Sangiovese, with two varieties balancing and enhancing one another in admirable symbiosis. A blackish ruby, its perfectly focused plum and cassis fruit , given an additional complexity by notes of sweet herbs and saddle leather, is fully and completely shaped in flavors of impeccable volume, roundness and depth, caressing and powerful and with an additional power on the close.

Antinori’s 2003 Tignanello (85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc) is a terrific effort. Typical Sangiovese notes of red cherries, tobacco and underbrush dominate the flavor profile of this intensely flavored Tignanello that manages to be ripe and open, while retaining notable balance and freshness, although the tannins dry out a bit on the back end. This is a delicious Tig to enjoy now.

The 2004 Tignanello presents a livelier shade of ruby along with fresher aromatics and flavors. Deeply expressive, it reveals black cherries, licorice, tar and sweet toasted oak on a linear, silky-textured frame to great class and elegance, showing outstanding presence on the palate and fine tannins to round out the finish.

red wine tasting

After such a terrific tasting, it was remarkable to close with a BADIA A COLTIBUONO VIN SANTO DEL CHIANTI CLASSICO OCCHIO DI PERNICE (Sangiovese) for dessert. Hard to believe that this vineyard is only 12 years old!

Vino Rouge Red Wine Tasting March 5, 2014

Vincent Jacques was looking forward to turning the club onto some really nice 2000 Bordeaux and did so at the Narragansett Grill in Narragansett, RI. While dinner was delightful consisting of dinner salad, broiled lamb rack with mashed potato and julienne of green beans, or choice of menu, the wine was out of this world!

In Bordeaux during the summer of 2000, all the right pieces seem to have fallen into place. A combination of ideal weather conditions and improvements in vineyard management and winemaking placed 2000 among the great Bordeaux vintages of all time. Quality was high throughout the region, and the wines of 2000 show remarkable consistency. Starting with a dry period in late May that allowed an even and problem free flowering, 2000 was blessed by wonderful weather. July rain in was followed by a sustained period of dry weather until the end of harvest. Warm conditions allowed fruit to ripen evenly and retain freshness and perfume. Selection was strict with some leading producers putting little more than a third of their production into their first wine, with improvements in the winery too, many estates made their best ever wines in 2000.

The Bordeaux region is naturally divided by the Gironde Estuary into a Left Bank area which includes the Médoc and Graves and a Right Bank area which includes the Libournais, Bourg and Blaye. The Médoc is itself divided into Haut-Médoc (the upstream or southern portion) and Bas-Médoc (the downstream or northern portion, often referred to simply as “Médoc”).

Here was our line-up.

red wine tasting

Chateau Sociando-Mallet; Haut-Medoc 2000
“As one might expect, proprietor Jean Gautreau has produced an uncompromisingly, potentially enormously long-lived 2005 that is as good as most Medoc cru classes. Based on previous vintages, it will undoubtedly require 10-12 years of cellaring. Its saturated blue/purple color is followed by a sumptuous bouquet of blueberries, white flowers, and minerals. Fresh, full-bodied, well-defined, and already revealing plenty of nuances, this intensely concentrated, impeccably pure effort is a classic vin de garde. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2030+.” 92-94/100 points. (Robert Parker)

Chateaux Lynch Bages; Pauillac 2000
Beginning to open magnificently (2011), the still dense purple-colored 2000 reveals a blossoming bouquet of blackberries, cassis, graphite and pen ink. Full-bodied with velvety tannins that have resolved themselves beautifully over the last eleven years, this wine is still an adolescent, but it exhibits admirable purity, texture, mouthfeel and power combined with elegance. One of the all-time great examples of Lynch Bages, the 2000 is just beginning to drink well yet promises to last for another 20-25+ years. 97/100 points (Robert Parker)

Chateau Talbot; St. Julien 2000
One of the best Talbots over recent years, and possibly the best since the 1986 and 1982, this sexy juggernaut of a wine struts forth with an opaque plum/ruby/purple color and terrific notes of creme de cassis, licorice, roasted herbs and smoky barbecue. It is a brilliant effort, with full body, wonderful fruit, a savory, expansive mouthfeel, sensational texture and a long finish, but no hardness or astringency. This is a fabulous Talbot to drink over the next 20-25 years. 94/100 points (Robert Parker)

Chateau Pichon Longueville; Pauillac 2000
50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, and a whopping 10% Petit Verdot and a touch of Cabernet Franc – “This is one of the great wines of the vintage, and certainly a candidate for one of the finest wines made at this estate under the management of Christian Seeley and proprietor AXA. Showing incredibly well at two tastings of 2000s, the wine has a dense bluish/purple color and a beautiful nose of incense, melted asphalt, and creme de cassis as well as hints of new saddle leather and licorice. It is superbly concentrated and very pure, with excellent texture and opulence. The acidity seems low, the tannin high but well-integrated. This is a compelling 2000 that is just closing in on its window of maturity and should stay there for at least 20 or more years. Bravo!”. 97/100 points (Robert Parker)

Chateau Les Ormes de Pez; Saint-Estephe 2000
“Deep ruby/plum/purple in color, with a nose of sweet melted licorice intermixed with lush, easy to appreciate flavors of black currants, tobacco, and incense, this is a fleshy, medium-bodied wine with excellent definition, and good, plump, chewy fruit as well as purity. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2013.” 87/100 points (Robert Parker)

Chateau Leoville Poyferre; St Julien 2000
The plushest, most ostentatious and dramatic of all the Leovilles in 2000, this wine is already sumptuous, displaying some nuances in its huge nose of vanilla bean, black chocolate, jammy black cherries, cassis, and graphite in a flamboyant style. Opulent, savory, rich, and full-bodied, it is a head-turning, prodigious wine and a complete contrast to the extracted behemoth of Leoville Barton and the backward, classic Leoville Las Cases. The Poyferre’s low acidity, sweet tannin and an already gorgeous mouth feel make it a wine to drink now as well as over the next 25 or more years (2010). 97/100 points (Robert Parker)

red wine tasting

Chateau La Tour Blanche – Donation Osiris – Sauternes 1995
Semillon: 70% / Sauvignon Blanc: 28% / Muscadelle: 2% – Very nice nose dominated by banana, honey, and fresh mint, nicely voluptuous. Very well made – rich, wide and quite impressive with butter – roasted almonds.