Vino Rouge Wine Tasting on November 4, 2015

wine tasting

We were back at Alpine country club in a big private room with an even bigger table than last month. The extra elbow room was appreciated. For the second month in a row, the members were delighted with the menu for the evening, which was captured here in this photo…

wine tasting

Brother Don presented six wines from six different parts of the world. After the tasting Don remarked how poorly we all did when we attempted to identify the wines. Wine made from different grapes in different parts of the world may have distinctive characteristics if that is the goal of the winemaker.

The first five wines were made in the modern fruit forward style. The influence of Robert Parker was evident in these wines which he has often called hedonistic fruit bombs. We all enjoy this style of winemaking but we cannot escape the reality that the potential terroir driven character of a wine will be compromised when this approach is used. So Don perhaps the heavyweight punch of ultra ripeness, high levels of extraction and lots of new oak may have dulled our senses.

wine tasting

Glass number one was a young big wallop Shiraz from newcomer Nugan. A novelty for this wine was the use of raisinated grapes. The wine was our number three favorite with 14 points. The Nugan had a lot of body, a lush mouth feel and a ripe fruit personality. Glass number two, another young newcomer made from Cabernet Franc grapes, with four points was not appreciated because it was not as expressive as the competition.

Dead last with two points, despite the highest professional rating, the 2007 Senechaux was enjoyed less by our club than a corked bottle of Rafanelli Cabernet. 2007 Châteauneuf Du Pape wines made by modernists like Senechaux are still massive fruit bombs. The ultra ripe Grenache in this blend produced a mouth coating texture that I thought was the result of raisinated grapes. Sadly the 2009 Rafanelli was impaired but this club favorite managed to attract five votes.

In second place with 17 votes was the big money 2010 Paul Hobbs Argentinian Marchioli Malbec. This well-made brawny wine was a winner in the heavyweight class. The club favorite with 18 votes was the delicate 2006 Amarone of Tomassi. How about that. My experience is that this cuvée by Tomassi is made for enjoyment in the first 12 years after the vintage. The style for this wine is reminiscent of a mellow Châteauneuf Du Pape made by a traditionalist. We appreciated the subtlety, the balance and the mellow complexity of the oldest wine presented.

Here’s a more detailed description of what we experienced…

Coming soon!

You can’t forget the wonderful close to the evening, with Don serving up a Graham’s 40 year old tawny port, with it’s golden brown caramel color and absolutely spectacular mouth feel!

wine tasting

Vine Rouge Wine Tasting on October 7, 2015

wine tasting

Alpine Country Club is a new venue for our club which satisfies all of our needs. The served us well, the food was good and the seating was spacious, private and intimate. Here’s a peak at our first menu selection at the Alpine…

wine tasting

Host Rick presented some new wines to the club at this tasting. Wine makers from the Loire Valley in France have used Cabernet Franc for centuries and have developed many different terroir driven expressions for this grape. Cab Franc wines from the Loire, such as the Chinon in this tasting, represent a small niche in the world of wine but they are certainly here to stay.

wine tasting

The Chinon never had a chance at this tasting. Perhaps this bottle was flawed or past its peak. There may be many reasons why this 13 year old, delicate, sophisticated wine from the Loire was not appreciated in the midst of five newcomers which were from the popular modern school of big fruit forward wines. The Oaky-Doke school of wine making was on display for sure. Most wine drinkers love the smell and taste of wines aged in new French oak. Wine makers know that they can produce wines that the wine drinking public will like if they over-oak their wines.

The ten year old Arger Martucci was the runaway favorite wine. It displayed a mellow, pleasing, ripe style with a soft mouth feel. The second place Peju and third place Pride Mountain wines were tightly grouped with 14 and 13 points respectively. Each were quite accessible and presented overall pleasing personalities. The Dedicato A Walter Italian wine, with 8 points, was my favorite. This wine I thought had a bit more complexity than the others. With 2 points the Dare by Viader I believe was not well received due to its youth. Rick did a good job of finding 5 recent Cab Franc creations by adventurous wine making pioneers. These 5 wines conformed to the subject matter of the informative Wine Spectator article, “Cabernet Franc’s Time” passed along by Rick. Here’s some more details of the wine we had…

Ager Martucci Cabernet Franc 2005 – Here’s an elegant, full-bodied Cabernet Franc packed with power and grace. It feels lush and classy in the mouth, a dry, softly tannic wine with rich flavors of blackberries, black currants and cedar.

Pride Mountain Cabernet Franc 2009 – Bright dark red. Blueberry, cassis and smoky oak aromas are lifted by a floral nose. Spicy flavors of blueberry and tart red cherry lead to substantial dusty, oak-edged tannins that turned a bit dry as the wine opened in the glass. However, a rich, full, comforting mouthfeel of pure silky pleasure.

Olga Chinon Les Picasses 2002- France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Chinon – It starts out on the nose with beautiful black and red cherry fruit, and then it’s as if you strolled into a spice market: clove and nutmeg, and a mix of fresh and dry kitchen herbs. It’s the kind of aromas that makes your stomach growl, and it should – this is a true food wine! In your mouth, its great acidity keeps the fruit in balance, while a sticky kind of brambly quality stretched out to the edges of your tongue, and lingers on into a pretty finishing combination of linear lead and juicy blackberry.

Dare 2013 – Viader Cabernet Franc – Explosive aromatics showing dark red fruits and layers of tobacco, graphite and baking spices. Lush, sweet juicy red fruits, chocolate and caramel coat the palate. Full-bodies and impressive, the silky mouthfeel leaves you with mouthwatering acidity and a touch of fresh sage on the finish. Extremely approachable.

Peju Cabernet Franc 2012 – This classic Cabernet France offers aromas of raspberry, green peppercorn and violets. Layers of savory dried herbs, clove, plum and blackberry immerse the mid-palate, finishing with hints of cedar and rosemary. This suptle, elegant wine is brilliant now and will continue to mature nicely for years to come.

Dedicato a Walter Toscana IGT 2009 – Deep ruby red in color, this one shows complex aromas of ripe blackberries, balsamic spices, tobacco, and a hint of eucalyptus. On the palate, it is exotic, spicy, full-bodies and harmonious, with ripe and well developed tannins that lead into a persistent and pleasing finish.

wine tasting
The 1994 Graham’s Vintage Port certainly was a fine dessert. This fully mature Port was soft and lush in the subtle Graham’s house style. With such a fine liquid dessert presented by brother Rick I had no need for vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce.

Vino Rouge Red Wine Tasting August 5, 2015

This month the club visited one of its favorite spots again, The Aurora Club, and we were treated like royalty as usual. Member Tommy put on quite a show and rekindled our palates with some really awesome 2007 California Cabs. Specifically, some terrific juice from Napa Valley. While the club was generally in line with the first three present bottles, expressing Cabernet Sauvignon as the hidden varietal, the remaining three bottles fooled the club and had it veering from having this one figured out. While there were some distinct winners, there was not a slouch in the bunch!

Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

The following paragraphs present the tasted wines and their associated tasting notes, in order of the club’s preference poll for this month’s tasting.

2007 ALTAMURA Cabernet Sauvignon – Napa Valley – Drink Range – 2012-2024; Robert Parker Rating: 95
Probably the best Cabernet Sauvignon I have ever tasted from Altamura, the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon is aged 30 months in 70% new oak from the same high-elevation vineyard as the Sangiovese. Notes of espresso roast, graphite, black currants, sweet black cherries and earthy, loamy terrior are all present in this dense purple, full bodies, exuberant, concentrated and expressive Cabernet Sauvignon.

2007 Beringer Vineyards Cabenert Sauvignon Private Reserve – Napa Valley – Drink Range – 2010-2030; Robert Parker Rating: 95
One of the greatest Private Reserves ever made, it ranks alongside the Private Reserves made in 1991, 1992, 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2004. Its dense plum/purple color is followed by sweet aromas of cassis, licorice, smoke and graphite intermixed with hints of bay leaf and chocolate. Full-bodied and velvety-textured with beautifully integrated acidity, tannin, alcohol and wood, it is an opulent, full bodied Cabernet that should drink beautifully for 20 or more years.

2007 Oakville Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon – Napa Valley – Drink Range – 2013-2033; Robert Parker Rating: 92+
The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville plays it closer to the vest than either Cabernet Franc of Zinfandel Field Bland. Locked and loaded, it posses plenty of black currant fruit intermixed with hints of earth and oaks as well as juicy, full bodied mouth feel. This youthful, still grapy wine spent 19 months in French oak. It has lots of potential, but needs to be forgotten for 3-4 years and should age from 15-20 years thereafter.

2007 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve – Napa Valley – Drink Range – 2013-2043; Robert Parker Rating: 95
The phenomenal 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve Georges de Latour is the greatest BV Private Reserve made since the 1970 and 1968. The good news is 11,000 cases were produced. The return of this superb Napa classic is fabulous news, and the brilliance of this wine is evidenced by its opaque purple color and its big, sweet, blackberry, cassis, subtle smoke, graphite, and spicy oak-scented nose. Dense and full bodies with sweet but substantial tannins, thrilling levels of concentration, texture and richness, and a heady finish, this wine will benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age, and last three decades or more. It’s time to once again fill your cellars with the BV Private Reserve, one of the historic names in California wine folklore.

2007 Antica (Anitori) Cabernet Sauvignon – Napa Valley – Drink Range – 2009-2029; Robert Parker Rating: 94
The finest wine I have yet tasted from Piero Antinori’s rocky hillside vineyard on Soda Canyon Roadt on southeast Napa, this 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon boasts a dense purple color with a rich, sumptuous bouquet of licorice, creme de cassis and smoky oak. This opulent, fleshy, fill-bodies wine exhibits beautiful purity and concentrated fruit. it should age nicely fro 15-20 years. Impressive and reasonable priced.

2007 Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Reserve – Napa Valley – Drink Range – 2014-2039; Robert Parker Rating: 94
As I indicated last year, the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon is a brilliant effort. Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, it has begun to shut down slightly, but reveals an opaque purple color along with deep, sweet, cedary, black currant aromas intermixed with hints of tobacco leaf, licorice and graphite. Full-bodies and rich, this impressive 2007 needs 4-5 years of cellaring and should keep for 25+ years.

For dessert, we had an incredible…

Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

1985 Fonseca Vintage Port, Portugal
The 1985 Fonseca is still youthful in appearance with hardly any ageing on the rim. The nose offers kirsch, sloes and Christmas cake. With time, there are subtle notes of dried fig and dates beginning to emerge and add to the complexity. The palate is medium-bodied and beautifully balanced on the supple, rounded entry. It is not quite as complex as the aromatics, with dates and dried fig, the finish mellow and refined. It is very elegant for a Fonseca, weighty but supremely well focused. This is a fabulous Fonseca that is ready to drink now, but will age for another 30 or 40 years. (NM)(2/2013)

Vino Rouge Red Wine Tasting May 6, 2015

Perhaps it is no surprise that Tom has Syrah on his mind since we are in the midst of our historic Grange-A-Thon. This month’s tasting featured four California Syrahs and two Aussie Shiraz wines. The Victor Hugo and River Star Syrahs were newcomers to the club. The Victor Hugo was a light bodied wine which tasted quite like a California Pinot Noir. The Hugo and River Star Syrahs gathered the fewest amounts of votes.

Stolpman has been making strong Syrahs from the South Central coast of California for some time now. Whenever I think of Stolpman a canine image comes to mind because each time I have visited their tasting room in Los Olivos, there has been a large motionless dog lying on the floor in the room. If you ever visit, make sure you take your sunglasses off before entering the room and look down in order to avoid tripping over the mascot of the winery. I don’t recall having tasted the attractive Originals Cuvee which impressed me as being less full bodied than their other Cuvees. The most lush and hedonistic of the California wines was an old favorite from Dehlinger. Goldridge was the most appreciated of the California wines.

wine tasting

Club members favored the two Australian Shiraz wines and perhaps since the Mollydooker was the bigger of the two big wallops it was the number one favorite wine of the tasting. Both Australian Shirazes were bigger and thicker than the California Syrahs. The answer to the question posed by Tom Clarkin, “Syrah or Shiraz?” is that one ought to bet on a big Shiraz to score high in a Vin Rouge Club meeting favorite wine poll.

wine tasting

Tom presented a quality 10 year old Tawny Port from Quinta Infantado, a port producer which I experienced for the first time at the tasting. Guest Kevin Thibeault offered a lovely 2010 ice wine from Joseph Phelps. The ice wine had that unmistakable thick, lush body with exotic apricot, pineapple and pear flavors and an amazing ethereal bouquet.

wine tasting

It appears that the Valley burgers were a hit.

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 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 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.