Friday, June 2, 2017

The Final Reds - WSET Class #6 - Part 2

After our break (where I chomped down the rest of my poké from Pokéritto) we looked at some different reds from Italy, again, and then a couple of other places. These were all different grapes and it was interesting to compare all of the tastes. I didn't feel so off base this week and that feeling continued for the second half of the class.

We were not quite finished with Italy as our next wine was a Barbera grape from Alba - and is touted as practically the opposite to super chewy Nebbiolo. It is a very food friendly wine and usually comes form Asti or Alba and that is why it is called Barbera d"Alba or Barbera d'Asti. 

The particular one that we tried was a 2014 Barbera d'Alba from Paolo Conterno.  It was a pale ruby wine with medium intensity on the nose and aromas of red currant, cranberry, cherry, plum and white pepper. On the palate, it was dry, with low tannins and a light body and flavours of red fruit, plum, vanilla, and smoke. It had a medium finish and was in that tricky area between good and very good. This $24 wine was certainly drinkable but not quite as good as the next one. 

And where was the next next one from? It was a 2010 Taurasi made by Le Masciare and was also Italian. It was made with the Aglianico grape which is often called the "Nebbiolo of the south" as it is made in Campania. The Taurasi DOCG is the top wine made from Aglianico in Italy. 

This wine was  deep ruby, and had medium plus intensity on the nose with aromas of blackberry, blueberry and black cherry. On the palate, it was dry with high tannins, high acidity, and full body and tasted of black fruit, aged fruit, wet leaves, smoke and tobacco (full disclosure - I didn't actually taste the wet leaves - nor have I yet to this date...).  It had a medium plus finish and was rated as Very Good and cost $50.

The next one was my favourite of the evening. I'm not sure if the rest of my group felt that way but I really liked it. It was deep ruby in colour and had, to me, a pronounced intensity one the nose with baked fruit, plum, prune, black cherry and a hint of cinnamon. On the palate, it had medium tannins, hi acidity and full body and tasted of raising, jam and cherry. It had a medium plus finish and I rated it as Outstanding but our instructor, Dave, insisted that it was merely Very Good. 

It was a Rioja Reserva from Spain. Rioja wines are rated by age; Joven (under a year), Crianza (at least two years), Reserva (at least 3 years) and Gran Reserva (at least 5 years). This way, if you buy a Reserva, you know that it is ready to drink now! Rioja wines are at least 75% Tempranillo.

This particular Rioja was a 2011 Marques de Murrieta Reserva Rioja and cost $45. I am really going to have to explore some more Rioja wines!

The last wine of the night was from Portugal and was from Douro. That is the only region of Portugal that we really have to know and the main grape is a Portuguese variety called Touriga Nacional. It is the signature red grape of Portugal. 

It was a 2013 Niepoort ($40) made in the Douro Valley and was a deep purple in colour. It had medium intensity and black fruit such as blackberry, black cherry, and plum on the nose. It had black fruit on the palate as well with the addition of cloves and black pepper with high acidity, medium body and high tannins. It was also rated as Very Good. 

I'm a little sad, now that we have finished exploring so many red  and white wines. According to my outline, we have sparkling and sweet wines next week and I don't think I'll be as excited as I have been over the past 6 weeks. Then it's fortified wines which I am also not a huge fan and finally spirits - and then the exam. I will, however, continue to practice my WSET style tasting as often as possible and share what I can on this blog. 

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