Tasting Notes

One of the best things about travelling around to different places is getting to try wines from all over the world. There is even research that suggests that in moderation, one glass of red wine a day is actually healthy! Below are some tasting notes on two of my favourite wines.

Valle Reale Vigneto Sant’Eusanio Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2011

Available at the LCBO, this 12.5% wine comes all the way from Valle Reale: a farm in the central Italian region of Abruzzo. Nestled between the towering Majella and Morrone Mountains, Valle Reale has 46 hectares of vegetable gardens and vineyards. The area is sometimes referred to as “the oven of Abruzzo” because of its location between the mountains, where summer temperatures skyrocket compared to the nearby towns. This unique temperature zone allows them to grow an abundance of vegetables, legumes, and wine grapes, including the Montepulciano grapes that make this 2011 Vigneto Sant’Eusanio. Confusingly, Montepulciano grapes are actually not used in the wines that come from the Tuscan wine region Montepulciano. Rather, they are a red grape variety that is commonly used in the wines produced in central Italy. Montepulciano wines are best enjoyed with dinner.

The Montepulciano grapes give this wine its nearly opaque, deep garnet colour. With a robust, fruity aroma, hints of juicy plum and black cherry are clearly evident. The taste is light and fruity. In addition to the dark fruits of cherry and plum there are harmonious traces of mellow herbs and spices, as well as a gentle touch of acidity, which extends the flavour.

From 2011, the wine itself is still quite youthful, but the flavour is balanced and full-bodied, making it an ideal pairing for substantial, fatty meats such as Roasted Pork Shoulder, Beef Bolognese, Brisket, and even Burgers. At only $14.75 per bottle it’s an ideal wine for those looking for a polished, ruby red wine that won’t break your bank account. This 2011 Valle Reale Vigneto Sant’Eusanio Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a great choice for a date night or dinner parties.

Wakefield Promised Land Shiraz 2015

Wakefield is a family-owned vineyard in the Clare Valley of Southern Australia. The vineyard is currently run by Mitchell Taylor, who followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather with the goal of making the finest Cabernet Sauvignon in all of Australia. Since opening in 1969, their vineyard has expanded. Now, in addition to a renowned Cabernet Sauvignon, they also make nearly 30 other varieties of red and white wines that include this Promised Land Shiraz. Wakefield describes their Promised Land Shiraz as a wine with a “vibrant spicy character that just begs to be drunk!”

The Shiraz is made from Syrah: a dark variety of grape that is popular in red-wine making around the world, from France to Chile to South Africa and beyond. When Syrah grapes grow in the hot Australian climate, it creates a consistently full-bodied wine with softer tannins. With a 14% alcohol content Promised Land Shiraz costs only $14.95 and is available at the LCBO.

The wine is a dark, semi-translucent red with deep purple hues. In addition to its dark colouring it has a medium-high viscosity. It smells earthy and has hints of cracked black pepper. With gentle tannins the wine has a flavour of spiced plums and juicy red berries. The taste is multidimensional and medium-bodied.

Overall, for a relatively cheap bottle of wine, the flavours are not only good but also memorable. The spicy, peppery flavour adds a complexity to the fruity palate of juicy berries, setting it apart from other red wines around this price range. Promised Land Shiraz even has the critical recognition to prove that. This particular Wakefield wine has won an abundance of awards including “Best Buy” and the Gold Medal in the World Value Wine Challenge.

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