Tasting Notes with Jim Beauregard: Deep, dark reds pair with cooler weather

By JIM BEAUREGARD October 16. 2018 10:50PM


As the weather becomes cooler, many wine drinkers turn to darker and heavier wines for the fall and winter.

Make no mistake, there are some who will drink wines that are fizzy, white, sweet and pink all year, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.

For many, though, the cold weather calls for a deeper wine, and that brings us to the wonderful world of red wines.

Several wine regions come to mind in this regard. Bordeaux, of course, for its rich red blends, but also northern Italy, where one can find Barolo and Amarone.

South America has much to offer as well, as it is the region of the world that appears to be perfecting the making of Malbec, originally part of the Bordeaux blend, but now a standalone in its own right.

And of course there is California. Most of the grapes grown in Europe also find a home there, where one can always find a good Meritage (the California name for a Bordeaux blend), and many other reds as well.

In the past, many German immigrants tended toward cooler climates, and this is one of the reasons we have such good Riesling from the Finger Lakes. Many Italians settled in California and brought their grapes with them. And we must give due credit to the French, who invented the blends and perfected the grapes that so often come to us from the West Coast.

So, with winter in mind, let’s start getting ready with some deep, dark reds.

The Seven Deadly Zins, 2014, Michael David Winery, Lodi, California, $19.99.

I have written about this wine before and am happy to come back to it. Zinfandel has been grown in California for many years, and while it is the same grape, it is planted in different ground. The end result is different, and in this case, delightfully so.

Zinfandel is typically dark, and this one certainly is, for the deep, black core is surrounded by purple wine. Still relatively young, it has a clean nose with red berries and some hints of pepper, with a medium intensity overall.

On the palate it is dry, of medium acidity, tannin, alcohol and body, all very well balanced, and the flavor profile reaches back to the nose but also includes blackberry, hints of raspberry, pencil shavings and a little bit of cedar on the way to the finish. Deep, developing, and a good California Zin.

Azienda Agricola Ca’ del Monte 2009 Amarone della Valpolicella, 15.5 percent alcohol by volume, about $50.

Amarone, as Italian wine lovers know, is one of the great wines of Italy, in this case coming from the northeast in the Veneto.

Amarone is traditionally made from three grapes — Rondinella, Covina and Molinara.

In the making of the wine, the grapes are first dried, which concentrates the flavors. In the end, it takes about twice as many grapes to make a bottle of wine, which means it tends to be more intense than many other types of wine.

This one, in particular, is purple with a pronounced nose of primary food aromas that include red fruit, black fruit and some dried fruit, the latter being classic to an Amarone.

This also is a dry wine, of medium acidity, medium alcohol and medium body. The flavor intensity is medium-plus, and tends to stick with primary fruit flavors that include blackberry, black plum, some red fruit, fig, hints of raisin and just a bit of oak in the background giving it some charred wood flavor. Delicious, and a good celebration wine.

Contact wine and beer writer Jim Beauregard at tastingnotesnh@aol.com.


Food

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