To go along with several end of summer BBQ feasts I opened up a few wines that I’ve had on hand. Most of these wines were from Spain, a producer of quality wines if you know what to look for, and a couple from Italy, including a seven year old bottle of Amarone.
If you have not yet read my post on wine tasting, I recommend you take the time to do so in order to have a greater understanding of how to appreciate fine wines. You can follow this link to review the details of that post.
Most of the Spanish wines were from Rioja. This style of wine is big and powerful with complexity that rivals other more famous reds from Italy and France in particular. Rioja is a full bodied, dry, red wine made from the Tempranillo grape. Read this link to learn more about this style of wine. These are mighty wines that can be stored for many years before they reach prime consumption and maturity. Pictured in the lower left corner is a 2011 Marques de Riscal – Reserva. Unfortunately, this reserva had not been properly stored before I purchased it. I suspect that it had been left standing upright, instead of laying on its side, thus, the cork had dried out and the wine began to deteriorate. This is sometimes the case when buying from a retail source. I determined this while uncorking the bottle. The cork was so dry that it nearly broke into pieces. The wine had an excessively musty nose and seemed a bit cloudy for only 6 years of age. Directly above was a Limited Edition, 2012 Ramon Bilbao – Rioja. This wine was excellent and would have aged quite well for another decade….patience is sometimes difficult when holding wines. The label at top-right, another Spanish red – vintage 2012, caught my eye when I was shopping for wine. Inspired by the artwork from 1898 by Juame Raventos. The vintner was unknown to me. So, it was a lucky pick and I was very impressed with this claret! Bottom-right was another Rioja from 2008 – Montecillo Gran Reserva….9 years old and absolutely outstanding! It was another that would have been fine if stored another 5 – 10 years. Bottom-center is the label from an Italian red the Barbera d’Asti – 2012 (grape variety Barbera), a light bodied and low tannin grape.
Also one Amarone Della Valpolicella -2010 (link to details about the grape varieties used and method of making this delightful wine). Amarone is well known for its ability to cellar for many years before reaching the peak of drinkability. This is another example of a wine that would easily age another 10 – 12 years….but it was certainly a delight to enjoy this year.
You may be thinking that dear teacher is some sort of wealthy guy if he can afford such wines, but truth be told, I generally spend no more than $15 for an ordinary table wine. Though some of these wines were as much as $25 and they are quite special. I think the most I have ever paid for a bottle of wine was $40 and those higher end wines are what I buy when they are first releases and then store them for 10, 15 or even 20 years. After a decade or two in storage, the wines are at considerably higher value if you can even find them in retail locations. For example; I may purchase an Amarone that’s been aged in oak casks for 2 years then released for sale at a retail price of $25. If I store that wine for 15 years and then check the price (where it may be available) it can have increased to $200! Clearly, I am not so well off that I can, or would pay that much for a single bottle of wine, but because I know what to buy, when to buy, and how to properly store fine wines, I am able to enjoy wines of exceptional quality at terrific value. In a future article I will share some information about how to buy and store (long term) great wines for low cost.
All of these wines are perfect accompaniment to roasted or smoked meats as well as grilled vegetables. The complexity of these wines are big enough to stand up to the strong flavors imparted by wood smoke and fire. Big reds like these can also hold their own when paired with spicy foods or rich sauces.
After tasting each of the wines, it was clear to me that they would all be drinkable for at least another 5 years and perhaps 7 – 10 years. More time in cellar storage would bring forth wines of tremendous character yet, more mellow on the pallet.
Here is a link to a short but interesting piece heralding the benefits of drinking wine to combat dementia.
Next month, I am planning to open one Bordeaux that is from vintage 2000 -17 year old! I have had in the cellar for about 14 years. Rest assured I will write a full report on that.