Candidate for wine of the year

It’s July now, so were just over half way through the year.  I’ve had some excellent wines so far in 2012, but recently had a wine that is the top candidate so far for “my wine of the year” – a prestigious award that exists only in my own mind and that most years I struggle to pick anyway, as I’m fortunate enough to drink many great wines most years.

Nonetheless, this wine was a clear standout so far.  It was the Giuseppe Quintarelli Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2000.  This wine comes from northern Italy, from a fairly cool climate for red grapes, and is made by air-drying the grapes prior to fermentation, which is known as the Amarone method (which I have discussed previously).  There was a real kaleidoscope of aromas with this wine, providing characters from florals and bright red cherry notes, hints of spices, through to deep raisin and chocolate.  It’s rare to get such a diverse range of aromas in any wine, so this was quite thrilling for wine-geeks such as myself and my dinner companions.  On tasting, the wine was decadently rich, yet perfectly balanced.  It had plush fruit flavours, a velvety mouthfeel, and refreshing acid and tannin providing a good structure.  The alcohol content was high (at 16.5%, which is not unusual for an Amarone), but barely noticeable given the richness of the fruit.  This wine had class, balance, decadence, and yet elegance.  It was a complete wine, and completely delicious.

Hopefully I’ve given a good picture of this wine through words, but it can be hard to encapsulate such a great sensory experience.   I expect some people reading this will think that wine is really nothing more than fermented grape-juice and that elaborate tasting notes are little more than their own author’s imagination at play.  There’s no doubt an element of truth to this.  But some people reading this may be more interested in wine and be able to decipher the tasting note into their own impression of what the wine was like.  That’s the essense of tasting notes on wines; it’s an imperfect art, but the best means we have for wine-lovers to communicate their experiences with each other.

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