Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Guado al Tasso Antinori

Terry Hughes of Mondo Sapore wrote a couple of articles about wine pimping and the evolution of the culture of wine in the US. Both very good articles because they bring up the question of quality over quantity and how the evolution of the wine industry will affect the quality wine consumer. He tells of his experience with an Ornellaia 1997, highly rated by the “experts” and, truthfully, a wine I really like. Ornellaia is a designer wine, as is Guado al Tasso.

I do not intend to talk about a specific vintage because Guado al Tasso is one of those wines that is generally good. The year will determine how good but the quality of production, the methods and the area the grapes are grown are all controlled and do not change from year to year. The Professoressa from Harry’s Bar in Rome introduced us to this wine. We wanted something different and she immediately produced a bottle of Guado al Tasso. We had never read anything about the wine nor had we tasted it before. Our meal was a very simple Veal roast with some oven baked potato slices covered with rosemary.

As with most wines I drink, Guado al Tasso is associated with memories of good times in good company. I do not get hooked on a wine just from the intense ruby color or the bouquet of Bing cherries. It is the combination with the food, the chit-chat with friends family, and the satisfying balance of life that all comes together in a single moment, frozen in time.

Spanning 7 km. of coast on the western shores of Tuscany, Guado al Tasso is located close to the ancient city of Bolgheri. This wine takes its name from a shy animal rarely seen, the Tasso (Have you ever been snipe hunting?). The vineyards covers about 400 hectares and is 80 km long. At one time there were 7 castles and more than a thousand towers. Today only four of the castles are still standing.

Antique lands, in the hands a one of the premier Italian winemaking families, the Antinori. This designer wine was first produced in 1990. It is a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. Generally the mix has been 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10 Syrah however, the 2003 mix changed to 70% Cabernet, 15% Merlot, and 15% Syrah. Personally I prefer the before 2003 mix but the 2003 version seems a bit more structured and lost a some of the mature fruit sensation.

Guado al Tasso is a great wine for a tagliata, mousse al chocolato, roasts, aged cheeses, pasta with red sauces, with most wild fowl and game and generally with savory dishes. The tannins while present are not dominating. The wine covers the mouth more than cutting through existing flavors and cleaning the palate. This wine is a great choice from appetizers to dessert. Once drinking Guado al Tasso with dinner I would not move on to a different red so keep at least 2 bottles in your cellar.

Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon 70%, Merlot 15% and Syrah 15%.

Color: Intense, impenetrable, ruby red with violet highlights.

Bouquet: Mature Bing cherries, chocolate and tabacco.

Flavor: Encompassing, very soft tannins, Bing Cherries, dried Plums, and Blackberries. The finish is precise and has definite scents of vanilla, chocolate and liquorices.

Alcohol Content: 14 %

Serving Temperature: 18-20 c.

Decanting: ½ hour.

Pouring: Pour slowly with a 15-20 degree inclination.

Glass: use a clear wide bellied, deep, stemmed glass. The increased surface area will allow the wine to continue to breath and will release its aroma as you move the glass to the mouth.

Aging: This is a designer wine, I would not age this over 10 years.

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