Vin Rouge Wine Tasting Notes for March 2, 2016

I’ve been in the club for over 20 years and have to say, this month’s tasting, was a first time theme for the club and had everybody guessing what we were enjoying. A big hats off to Brother Don, who stepped up to the plate and traded with another member who could not make it, and an even bigger bow to Brother Don for choosing some spectacular wines and an awesome theme! Drum roll please…

The theme of the night was wines with very high (more than 14.5 percent alcohol), although these days, that pretty easy to find. This theme sparked a lot of discussion within the club. As Don presented, “There’s pressure on winemakers from critics for intense flavors, and that means riper grapes”, explains Marnie Old, the director of wine studies at the French Culinary Institute, in New Your City, and a coauthor of He Said Beer, She Said Wine (DK Publishing, $25). “So during the past few years, winemakers have been leaving grapes on the vine well after they would typically be picked, and that translates into fuller-bodied wines and more alcohol.” Thanks to technological advances in farming, it’s now less of a risk to delay harvesting grapes.

A Guide to the Alcohol Content In Wine can be found here

Don’s focus was very high alcohol wines, which translates into big bold flavors and the choice presented this month did not let us down and neither did the venue, a club favorite, The Aurora Club. We were allowed to order off the menu, although I saw many club members enjoying the baked escargots appetizer.

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Okay, finally to the wines. Based on the monthly preference poll completed by the club, the favorite was a 2011 Monte Santoccio Amarone. Second place was a 2009 Dehlinger Guadagni Brothers Zinfandel. Third place was a tie between the 2012 Martinelli Zinfandel Vallutini Ranch and the 2009 Allegrini Amarone Classico.

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Further descriptions of each of these wines can be found in the following paragraphs.

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2011 Monte Santoccio Amarone ( % alcohol)
This one has a brilliant ruby reflections color, the bouquet is nuanced with scents of wild berries, and has a rich flavor, majestic and velvety.

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2009 Dehlinger Zinfandel Guadagni Brothers (15.5% alcohol)
This wine is an actrative juicy wine layered with plums, dark red fruit and licorice. High-toned floral notes and a hint of white pepper add lift on the finish. The blend includes 13% Petite Syrah. This is a totaly inviting, vinous red best enjoyed in its exuberant youth.

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2012 Martinelli Zinfandel Vallutuni Ranch (16.9% alcohol)
This wonderful wine exhibits abundant notes of licorice, Christmas fruitcake, Asian spices, mulberries, black cherries and blackberries, a full-bodied, viscous mouthfeel, and a long finish.

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2009 Allegrini Amarone Classico (15% alcohol)
This wine is a beautiful, international rendition that shows the soft and supple side of Amarone with loads of ripe fruit sweetness. This expression opens with an inky, impenetrable appearance and shows lingering notes of exotic spice, smoked bnacon, grilled herb and blackberry preserves.

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2006 San Rustico Amarone della Valpolicella Classico “Gaso” (16% alcohol)
This shows beautifully elegant aromas of spice, black pepper, crushed granite, dried spice and fresh forest berry. There are recognizable notes of jammy red fruit and marmalade, but the bouquet remains tightly pulled together and balanced nonetheless. It imparts a crisp, clean sensation on the palate, with a long, polished finish.

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2012 Martinelli Zinfandel Lolita Ranch (15.9% alcohol)
This one reveals gorgeous notes of cured meats, licorice, roasted herbs, blackcurrants and black cherries. Supple and full-bodied with a medium ruby color.

Don then went above and beyond yet one more time and shared a nice Sandeman 30 year old tawny port. Absolutely scrumptious!

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