Vino Rouge Red Wine Tasting July 1, 2015

Having an instinct for adventure can lead to a whole lot of fun as well as the discovery of new places to visit. Jay Chelo was responsible for the adventure to Plainville, Massachusetts, which I had never visited before. We were accommodated well and ate well food at Fitzy’s Pub. We wish our good friend Jay good fortune in his new restaurant venture. Host John Benevides also took us on an adventure to the Bolgheri region of Italy. I had heard a bit about the region but had very limited knowledge about Bolgheri. Introducing and educating fellow club members about an up and coming wine region is always enjoyable.

wine tasting

Once we got to the third or fourth glass it was feeling like a family affair. The Argentiera winemaker certainly has a good feel for the house style to be created. All six glasses were quite consistent with strengths being balance of oak and fruit, density and extraction which produced the result of pleasing mellowness. John emphasized the importance of terroir which has shaped the character of these wines.

Winemakers seem to have an instinct for adventure when it comes to Bordeaux varietals being planted just about everywhere a vine is able to grow. In the Bolgheri region of Italy, as expressed by the Argentiera winery, Bordeaux varietals have been tamed to take on a classic trim European sense of body and mouth feel. The Argentiera Bolgheri Superiore that we tasted is certainly a food wine and if it truly is an age worthy wine, it does so without a chunky, chalky tannic structure which often characterizes Vin De Garde wines made with Bordeaux varietals.

wine tasting

The preference poll favored wines from seven to ten years old. The 2004 being the oldest of the group may have suffered from bottle variation or some other unfortunate problem. The youngest wine, the 2010, I believe received no votes because of its youthfulness. Host John ended the tasting with another adventure, the 2009 Tremonti dessert wine from a part of Italy close to Bolgheri. The vino dolce was made from an indigenous Albano grape. The dessert wine was great and always appreciated by our club which includes a few dessert wine specialists.

wine tasting

Bolgheri, on the Tuscan coast just south of Livorno, is one of Itlay’s most prestigious vineyard areas. Here are the tasting notes for this month’s tasting…

2004 Argentiera Doc Bolgheri Superior – Vivid ruby red color with purple reflexes. Expressive aromas of liquorice, cassis and floral hints. A generous and deep wine, rich of tannins. Full bodies and pleasant taste on the palette with an appropriate acidity and a fresh and minerally finish showing considerable persistence.

2005 Argentiera Doc Bolgheri Superior – Vivid ruby red color with purple reflexes. Expressive aromas of liquorice, cassis and floral hints. A generous and deep wine, rich of tannins. Full bodies and pleasant taste on the palette with an appropriate acidity and a fresh and minerally finish showing considerable persistence.

2006 Argentiera Doc Bolgheri Superior – Intense and dark ruby red color. It develops on the nose hints of delicate spices as saffron and paprika, aromas of dark berries like blackberries and cassis together with hints of toasted wood and tobacco. On the palate the wine shows round and pleasant complexity with compact and rich tannins offering a silky taste. A lingering and open finish with hints of fresh fruits and mineral notes showing considerable persistence.

2007 Argentiera Doc Bolgheri Superior – Intense and dark ruby red color. The nose shows very complex with hints of mint, eucalyptus, liquorice and coffee followed by fruity flavors of plums, black currant, blackberries and cherries. Int he taste, the wine offers its whole character and elegancy. The palette presents immediately fruity flavors of fresh plums filling up the mouth. Wine of structure, fresh and mineral, in perfect harmony thanks to sweet, velvet and large tannins. A lingering and intense aromatic finish with fruity flavors of plums.

2008 Argentiera Doc Bolgheri Superior – Intense ruby red color. The very complex nose shows sweetness and vanilla flavors accompanied by balsamic hints of eucalyptus, mint and laurel followed by fruity flavors of mature cherries, plums, clack and billberries with a light smoked finish. At the palate, the wine offers a good structure and elegant character combined to a pleasant fruity sweetness. A well balanced and harmonic wine with appropriate freshness and mature, velvet and large tannins. A lingering and intense aromatic finish with fruity flavors of plums mixed to balsamic flavors.

2009 Argentiera Doc Bolgheri Superior – Intense and luminous shades of dark ruby red. Very complex on the nose with fresh hints of wooden berries and cherries, beside intense and spicy balsamic notes finishing with some roasted hints. On the palate, we discover the same aromas, which are perfectly balanced with intense taste, but the end is of red and dark fruit like mulberries and blackberries. The taste impresses because of the deep and velvet balance, beside a perfect interaction between freshness and tannins, which offer a long persistent pleasant and elegant aftertaste. The wine shows harmonic but intriguing, because of the sapid and mineral aftertaste; well balanced between fineness, structure and the lingering finish.

2010 Argentiera Doc Bolgheri Superior – Intense and luminous shades of dark ruby red color. Very complex on the nose with fresh hints of red berries like cherries, plum and cassis going over to wooden berries. Beside this, we have intense and spicy balsamic notes as eucalyptus and graphite, finishing with some well integrated roasted notes. On the palate we discover the same aromas, which are perfectly balanced giving deep and velvet sensations. The mineral taste impresses because of the freshness, which offers character to the wine and a long persistent, pleasant and elegant aftertaste. The wine shows harmonic but intriguing, because of the sapid and mineral aftertaste; well balanced between fineness, structure and the lingering finish.

wine tasting

Vino Rouge Special Vertical Tasting of Penfolds Grange Flight Two

Well, no one promised that a Penfolds Grange Vertical would be boring! Unlike the results from Flight ONE, the Flight TWO wines showed considerably more differences and the top two preference poll wines garnered 82 percent of the points and three vintages received zero points. In fact, the top scoring 1982 vintage received 50% of all of the points, albeit deservedly. This wine was truly fabulous with lots of open fruit and spices and a very long finish…very impressive for a 33 year old wine. Interestingly, the Wine Advocate suggested a drinking period that was to end in 2010, but in my opinion it still has years of life yet, though I cannot imagine it getting any better.

Penfolds Grange

Bistro 45 did a marvelous job with the special menu they prepared for us; everything we tasted was wonderful and very well prepared; there were just too many courses. Thanks also go to Don, who worked with the restaurant to make the table seating pretty roomy and comfortable, using the available small tables and adding a top cover.

Penfolds Grange

The wines tasted spanned 20 years and included the 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998 and the 2002. Prior to the tasting, the wines were prepared using a decant procedure that included filtering the wine through cheese cloth twice and completing a double rinse of the bottles using Peregrine water, after which the wine was re-poured in the rinsed bottles and vacuum sealed.

As previously stated, the club overwhelmingly chose the 1982 as the favorite of the night, followed by the 1986 and then the 1998. Collective tasting notes from the club for these and the other remaining wines in this second of four verticals are woven into the following wine descriptions.

Penfolds Grange

1978 Penfolds Grange Hermitage – Rating: 93 (Feb 2002); Drink Range – 2002-2022
A blend of 90% Shiraz and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, has turned out to be a blockbuster wine with extraordinary intensity, a voluptuous palate, notes of camphor, coffee, jammy black fruits, leather and creme de casis. As the wine sits in the glass, pepper and melted asphalt make an appearance. Very unctuously textured, thick and chewy, this wine is soft, with a very succulent style. The club encountered a subtle nose of tea and spice with a big old world earthy port-like flavor on the palate. Another luscious Grange with hints of chocolate, leather, blackberry and tar with peppery spice. For a 1978, this is acting young and not old. This will go another 10+ years, easy.

1982 Penfolds Grange Hermitage – Rating: 97 (June 2009); Drink Range – 2000-2010
One of the jammiest, most precocious Granges when it was released, it has never gone through a closed stage and continues to drink beautifully. A full bodied, opulent Grange, it reveals an inky/purple color to the rim as well as a beautiful nose of crushed blueberries, black-berries, smoke, toast, roasted herbs and road tar. This dense, plush, expansive, seamless, seductive 1982 has not changed much over the last decade. The club noted a vibrant nose of roasted herbs and raw asparagus, leading to a voluptuous flavor profile of coffee, raisins, black currant and some spice, ans seems to be totally evolved at its very peak right now. Soft tannin lead to a fruity finish that are elegantly balanced.

1986 Penfolds Grange Hermitage – Rating: 98 (June 2009); Drink Range – 2005-2039
A blend of 87% Shiraz and 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1986 is one of the most powerful Granges produced (14% alcohol). Inky/purple to the rim with an extraordinary perfume of sweet licorice, crushed pepper, blackberry liqueur, camphor and barbecue spices, this sensationally full bodied, concentrated, layered 1986 is still an infant in terms of its ultimate potential. While a quiet nose, the club noted a great mouth feel similar to the 1998. A luscious Wow Wow wine with an awesome balance. Tannins very soft with some smoke and tar on corners of back palate on the finish. Interesting in that flavors and expand on the palate like a ramp up.

1990 Penfolds – Rating: 94 (June 2009); Drink Range – 2000-2020
The 1990 performed well in the tasting, but, along with the 1980, was the least impressive of these Granges. The 1990 is loosely knit, seems to border on over-ripeness with its jammy character, and has a slightly more aggressive style of tannin… or are the acids more pronounced? It is certainly outstanding, displaying full body along with a classic smoky, blackberry, cassis, pepper and forest floor-scented bouquet. The club echoed a nose described as “slightly off”, with a bricky edge. It was a jammy wine with a distinctive different style. A background dryness and not as fruity as the others, although there is still plenty of earthy fruit with a nice finish.

1994 Penfolds – Rating: 91 (Feb 2002); Drink Range – 2004-2020
Interestingly enough, this is the first vintage where Grange went to a bottle with laser-etched identification numbers to preclude the possibility of fraudulent bottles. The wine, a blend of 89% Shiraz and 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, shows some toasty oak mixed with notes of root vegetables, damp earth, blackberry liqueur, prune and licorice. The wine is dense, full-bodied, not terribly complex in the mouth, but layered and rich. We noted a sugary butterscotch nose that leads to the same damp earthy taste with hints of raisins, cotton candy, caramel, with red plum as the main fruit.

1998 Penfolds – Rating: 99 (June 2009); Drink Range – 2009-2039
A wine that flirts with perfection, the 1998 has one of the highest alcohol contents (nearly 15%) as well as one of the highest percentages of Shiraz in the blend (97%). Its stunning purple color is accompanied by exceptionally sweet aromas of black-berry liquer intermixed with barbeque spices, an endearing, smoky earthiness, pepper, roasted meats, and coffee. Huge, massive, unctuously textured, and extraordinary youthful, this impressive wine is a candidate for perfection. my notes indicated a velvety, elegant coating wine with earthy hints of almonds, coffee and ripe plums with hints of cherry and black berries, a real nectar of the Gods and rated a 99 by Parker for a reason. Alcohol balances well with acidity and tannins for a long lingering finish that changes to black cherry flavors.

2002 Penfolds – Rating: 98 (Oct 2007); Drink Range – 2007-2050
The 2002 Shiraz Grange was sourced from 77.5% Barossa Valley and 22.5% from McLaren Vale. Included in the blend is a 1.5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Opaque purple, it gives off an ethereal bouquet of violets, saddle leather, blueberry, blackberry, pencil lead and chocolate. This is followed by a full bodied wine with tremendous concentration, multiple layers of flavor, ripe tannins, and great balance. Thick and rich with a 60 second finish. The club observed loads of glycerin with a nose of butterscotch, cola and saddle soap, with nice blackberry on the mid-palate, with a lingering finish. Taste the youth in this one, as it is still wrapped-up tight. , although big dry cherry fruit is the prominent characteristic of the full bodied soft tannin wine.

Penfolds Grange

How about closing with a NV Penfolds Father Grand Tawny – a Grenache, Shiraz, Cabernet, Mataro Dry Red Table Wine from South Australia. The 10 year old, pale amber-tawny colored Father Grand Tawny is intensely scented of dried mulberries, sultanas, treacle and caramel with a marmalade lift. Big, expressive and rich with a nuttiness in the mouth, it finishes very long and very sweet.

Penfolds Grange

Vino Rouge Special Vertical Tasting of Penfolds Grange Flight One

Setting the bar higher than we ever have before, the Vino Rouge club will be enjoying four unbelievable flights of the infamous Penfolds Grange, covering 27 consecutive vintages from 1976 through 2002!

Penfolds Grange tasting

The first flight was held at Basta in Pawtuxet Village on March 25, 2015, and really was a terrific start to a truly amazing vertical.

Penfolds Grange tasting

The wines tasted spanned 20 years and included the 1979, 1983, 1987, 1991, 1995 and the 1999. Prior to the tasting, the wines were prepared using a decant procedure that included filtering the wine through cheese cloth twice and completing a double rinse of the bottles using Peligrino water, after which the wine was repoured in the rinsed bottles and vacuum sealed.

Penfolds Grange tasting

While it was extremely difficult to pick a favorite, the club managed to do so and it was the 1987, followed by the 1983 and then the 1999. Collective tasting notes from the club for these and the other remaining wines in this first of four verticals are woven into the following wine descriptions.

1979 Penfolds Grange Hermitage – Rating 90 (Feb 2002) Suggested drinking range 2000-2015

A blend of 87% Shiraz and 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, Max Schubert commented in 1983 that this vintage was “not quite up to the mark”. For technicians, this was the last vintage to use white capsules on the bottle, with Penfolds moving to the crimson red foils in 1980. The wine is deep ruby garnet with an unusual nose of root vegetables mixed with cola, caramel, black currant and tar. The club thought the wine had a quiet nose with a touch of cola and mint chocolate. Really nice mouth feel with cherry cola, vanilla with great balance and the best finish of the bunch, with a lingering buzz on the back pallet. Still a lot of fruit and still seems young, in the opinion of most (i.e. look, feel, glycerin)

1983 Penfolds Grange Hermitage – Rating 92 (Feb 2002) Suggested drinking range 2006-2020

The earliest harvest on record at Penfolds, the 1983 vintage was characterized by devastating bush fires, followed by enormous flooding in March. A blend of 94% Shiraz and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine has a surprisingly low pH (3.41) for a Grange, with an amazing 7.1 grams of acid per liter. We experienced an earthy milkshed nose and found the wine more refined, with some acidity and dark fruit, although starting to separate out. Not a bold attack, but with consistent monolithic fruit, with a silky feel. Seems to be at a peak and should be consumed as opposed to cellared much longer.

1987 Penfolds Grange Hermitage – Rating 90 (Feb 2002) Suggested drinking range 2003-2016

A light, elegant style of Grange made with a blend of 90% Shiraz and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine has a deep ruby/purple color and a spicy, peppery nose with some new oak, black cherry and blackberry flavors. The club noted a really robust nose of earth and cranberry and all expressed delight in the unbelievable coating of sweet vanilla, caramel and luscious fruit with hints of mocha coffee and butterscotch. Absolutely perfectly balanced with a syrupy heavenly mouth feel that just coats the palate. Super lush bomb!

1991 Penfolds Grange – Rating 93 (Feb 2002) Suggested drinking range 2002-2017

This wine is generous, open, and sweet in its personality Dense purple, this blend of 95% Shiraz and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon shows great fruit, a very lush, open-knit style with full body, high glycerin, low acidity and superb purity. My notes show a sweet creamy milk sugar nose. Awesome mouth feel with an explosion of cherry, jammy fruit, roasted meat and licorice on a nice pleasant finish.

1995 Penfolds Grange – Rating 92 (Feb 2002) Suggested drinking range 2004-2018

An impressive Grange that may ultimately prove to be underrated, like many wines from this vintage, the 1995, a blend of 94% Shiraz and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, exhibits a saturated plum/purple color and a sweet blackberry liqueur nose intermixed with cassis, licorice and new oak. The wine is textured, jammy, fill-bodied, with impressive levels of extract, glycerin and black fruit flavors. We found the nose to be subtle, with touches of raspberry and blackberry. This full bodied wine coats the pallet with chewy and sexy fruit with a long ripe finish with unobtrusive acidity and tannin.

1999 Penfolds Grange – Rating 92 (Oct 2004) Suggested drinking range 2006-2019

The 1999 Grange is a dense ruby/purple to the edge, with a bouquet of blackberries, mulberries, and floral-like aromas. Medium to full body, the 1999 has an acid punch, but also tremendous layers of fruit and extract. Not massive, but elegant and nicely layered. We discovered lead pencil on the nose with hints of cranberry too. Layored balance gives a great mouth feel with tart cranberry on a long lasting finish. Has a strong acid backbone with soft round pronounced tannins. More of an elegant profile, although still a little tight.

Penfolds Grange tasting


NV Penfolds Club Austalian Tawny – A proprietary blend dry red fortified Mataro, Shiraz, Grenache wine from South Australia

Pale tawny-amber colored, the NV Club Australian Tawny expresses a lovely nose of raisins, sultana, toffee and dates with hints of dried figs and caramel. Full-bodies, it is nicely poised in the mouth with rich, sweet and concentrated flavors that finish long.

Welcome to, a Private Wine Club

Hello and welcome to  While we are a private red wine club, we have collectively decided to share the information we collect in hopes of benefiting others who enjoy red wine!  We will be updating this wine club website often with new monthly tasting reviews, as well as tasting reviews from the last 20+ years that this red wine club has been doing these tastings.  We love your feedback, so feel free to get in touch with us through our Contact Us page.

Below you can find our most recent and historical red wine reviews from our monthly tastings.

Vino Rouge Red Wine Tasting March 4, 2015

Another great tasting to report and a new venue outside of Rhode Island to boot. This month, we held our tasting at Porto Bello Cafe, located in downtown North Attleboro. Quarters were a little tight for our table of 12, but that only sparks more conversation! Wow, did they aim to please our motley crew, with a multitude of appetizers, great meals and dessert sweets to close things out.

red wine reviews

Norm did an excellent job providing the wines for the evening and fooled almost everybody by having our second blind Italian wine tasting in a row, entitle “Super Tuscans”. Some of us would be happy to taste Italian wines every month, as the wines were all tantalizing and appeared to get better and better with each glass! Only one of the six wines failed to obtain a preference poll vote, but that was only because they were all so good. The following paragraphs discuss each of the wines we shared, with the first three representing the top three wines as determined through our monthly preference poll.

Tenuta Arceno il Fauno di Arcanum Toscana IGT 2009 – Deep, brilliant black cherry color and elegant aromas of peppery spice and minerality. On the palate, the oak is discreet with a strong presence of spice and salted nutmeg. This a balanced wine with beautiful length and bright acidity that comes together for a smooth finish of soft tannins and black pepper noted. 61% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, 2% Sangiovese and 1% Petit Verdot

Luce della Vite Luce Toscana IGT 2008 – Luce is a very dense, concentrated purple-red. The nose exhibits remarkable finesse, releasing notes of wild blackberry and sour cherry, backgrounded by peppery eucalyptus and minerally impressions of pencil lead. Capping the aromatic array are appealing notes of baker’s chocolate and tobacco leaf. This wine shows a superb attack, with the densest of tannic suites. The palate expands impressively, with a tasty vein of acidity that beautifully knits together all of its constituents. A near-endless finish adds the final harmonious touch. Sangiovese 45%, Merlot 55%

Brancaia Ilatraia Rosso Maremma Toscana IGT 2011 – A fine wine with intense aromas and flavors of liquorice and blueberry, with leather and sweet spice accents. This is firm wine, revealing finesse and a rich texture with air. Dense tannins show on the finish. Consists of a mix of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Petit Verdot and 20% Cabernet Franc.

red wine reviews

Felsina Fontalloro Toscana IGT 2010 – Ruby red appearance with rich, intense tonality. Complex, multi-layered nose, with generous notes of tobacco leaf and moist earth (dry earth as well), black currant, wild bramble and black liquorice. The palate exhibits a generous mass of tannins, fairly supple, perfect for lengthy ageing. Good weight and structure, and elegant breed on the finish. 100% Sangiovese

Monte Antico Supremus Toscana Rosso IGT 2007 – Deep ruby red in color, with purple reflections. Its intense, persistent bouquet of violets, cherries and red berry fruit shows subtle, elegant notes of vanilla and toasted wood, minerally nuances and hints of leather, chocolate, black pepper, and cinnamon…an exquisite palate of aromas confirmed on the full, lush, flavorful palate characterize by sweet mellow tannins and velvet texture. Long, lingering finish. 75% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon

San Felice Pugnitello Rosso Toscana IGT 2008 – A very deep purple-red greets the eye, then the wine develops a multi-layered bouquet that foregrounds tanned leather and animal skin over ripe drid plum and a subtle herbaceousness. The wine is massive in the mouth, and exhibits velvety tannins and a warm alcohol complemented by a tasty vein of acidity. 75% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon

Vincent Jacques, Founding Member

vin rouge member

Vincent L. Jacques is a Professional Engineer, with over 20 years of experience in the environmental engineering field, primarily associated with environmental due diligence and remediation. Over the years, Vincent has started and sold several environmental companies and currently serves as the New England Regional Manager for Bock and Clark Environmental, LLC. During the evenings and weekends, Vincent currently owns and operates, a portfolio of boutique domain names for sale or for lease. In his spare time, he develops websites, writes on various blogs and is getting ready to launch two new online business, and Vincent is a PADI certified diver, he is an avid philatelist, and is a long standing founding member of this 12-person monthly wine club, Vino Rouge. Vin absolutely loves music and does not shy away from the title DeadHead, having seen his fair share of Grateful Dead concerts. Vincent resides in Narragansett, Rhode Island with his wife and two children.

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 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 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.