Vino Rouge Red Wine Tasting November 5, 2014

Yet another great meeting of the Vin Rouge Wine Club was held this week at the Valley Country Club, hosted by Ray Harrison. In tribute to last month’s presentation by Don, Ray borrowed the theme, presenting six similar wines from his cellar, selected for style and maturity. This was an educational parallel, and we did a little better at characterizing the different wine varietals and wine ages than we did last month. Ray also managed to include a spoiler, a 2001 Chateauneuf du Pape that was “over the hill” (remember that Don had a 2001 Beaucastel CDP last month that turned out to also be over the hill).

red wine tasting

This month’s poll winner was the 2001 Kilikanoon Covenant Shiraz compared to last month’s 2002 Torbreck RunRig Shiraz, another pretty amazing parallel! And 2nd place was won in both tastings by a 7 to 8 year old Malbec from Argentina, with third place going to 7 to 8 year old California entries.

We all know Ray Harrison is very knowledgeable about wines, but how did he get the preference results to come out the same? This was a very well done presentation dubbed “DEJA BU” and our hats are off to Ray for this enjoyable experience.

The Valley Country Club offered Mushroom Biscotti to start, a past and bean soup and entree choices of chicken parmigiana, haddock picatta and veal saltimbocca, all served with a mushroom risotto and roasted butternut squash. The following paragraphs provide some additional tasting notes for each of the wines we enjoyed this month

Kilikanoon Covenant Shiraz 2001 – The outrageously rich Shiraz exhibits an inky purple color as well as a terrific bouquet of blackberries, melted licorice, tar and background wood. Full-bodied, tightly-structured, and somewhat closed, but enormously promising, as noticed by the club as the number 1 preference.

Tikal Amorio Malbec 2006 – This one is opaque purple-colored with a splendid perfume of pain grille, vanilla, spice box, blacky cherry and blackberry. Medium to full bodied, it has a plush palate feel, excellent balance and nicely combines elegance with power, coupled with enough silky tannins to roll for a number of years.

Delinger Estate Syrah 2008 – This estate Syrah from Altamont, burts onto the palate with a melange of dark red fruit, licorice and spices. All of the elements come together beatifully in the glass as the waves of fruit build towards the creamy, textured finish. Bright floral notes, white pepper, leather, licorice, tar and spices add further dimensions of complexity.

Domaine la Milliere Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes 2005 – This brilliant Chateauneuf du Pape is a sexy-styled wine, especially for this structured, masculine and somewhat restrained and backwards vintage. This is a full bodied opulence with sweet tannins, low to moderate acidity, and gorgeous levels of plum, fig, black currant and sweet cherry fruit intermixed with some smoked meat and lavender. This a beauty of layered opulence and luscious texture.

BV Tapestry Reserve 2005 – Aromas of ripe current, plum and black cherry offers hints of spice, cedar and flowers. Elegant, balanced, complex and polished, finished with firm tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon, Melot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petite Verdot – What a blend!

Cuvee du Vatican Chateauneuf du Pape 2001 – This deep ruby/purple colored Chateauneuf du Pape reveals Grenache’s powerful side in its intense kirsch, licorice, peppery aromatics. An opulent attack is followed by a multilayered, full-bodied mid-palate along with considerable structure and headiness in the finish. This is a large-scaled but impeccably well-balanced Chateauneuf to drink for a few more years.

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 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 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!