ALLEGRINI | Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico 2009
(Veneto, Italy) $60
Amarone, one of the great red wine classics of Italy, is very difficult to make. Much ends up tasting like dull raisin sycrup. But the greatest Amarones are exquisitely rich without being heavy. Their long sweeps of complex flavors are reminiscent of exotic spices, blackberry preserves and something a touch smoky. Seductively smooth, they are an oh-my-God moment when paired with mushroom risotto dusted with aged Parmigiano Reggiano. Allegrini makes one of the most ravishing Amarones around. This gorgeous 2009 year is still available on the market and at its peak right now. (15.5% abv)
96 Points KM
Available at K & L Wines
What is tasseography?
A. The practice of determining the clarity of a wine by looking at it in a tastevin (shallow silver tasting cup).
B. The practice of reading tea leaves to divine a drinker’s future.
C. The historic Burgundian practice of smelling and tasting vineyard soils to determine their merit.
D. The 16th century practice of tracing important trade routes for ships that carried wine and goods (like coffee beans and cacao) that could be made into expensive beverages.
I, Harry, Do Solemnly Warrant…
As anyone who has tasted it knows, English sparkling wine is superb. (I personally think the top English sparkling wines are fantastic). Now, England’s Camel Valley Vineyard has become the first English wine producer to be granted a Royal Warrant. Royal Warrants are given by the Royal Family to top “suppliers” of the Royal Household—Veuve Clicquot has a Royal Warrant; so does Twining’s Tea and Martini Vermouth. Could Camel Valley’s ascendency to Warrantdom be a precursor to its Brut being served at Prince Harry and Megan’s (royal) wedding? One hopes so.
“In nothing have the habits of the palate more decisive influence than in our relish of wines.”
—Thomas Jefferson, third president of the U.S.
A gelatinous material, obtained from—get ready—the air bladders of sturgeon and other fish.
“Karen, what are the pros and cons of screw caps?”
—Tyler M., Westminster, CO
Tyler, there are a lot of “pros” to screw caps. They keep wine fresh. They are easy to open. And most importantly, wines stoppered with screw caps don’t get “corked”—that is, they never develop a funky odor caused by TCA, a taint that affects a small percentage of corks. There’s one major “con”—screw caps almost completely block out oxygen (although some are constructed to let in a tiny bit of O2). As it turns out, a small amount of oxygen is good for many wines, helping them to evolve and mature. “Big” wines with a lot of tannin—like cabernet—especially benefit from a bit of oxygen. —Karen
Have a wine question for me? I love answering questions, please send them to AskKaren@winespeed.com.
Zinfandel originally came to the United States from Croatia.
Answer: True. Although it has been called “America’s grape,” scientists have known for decades that zinfandel (just like chardonnay, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and dozens of other varieties) originally came from Europe. The question was where in Europe? Thanks to DNA typing of grapevines, we know that zinfandel’s original home was the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia. Sometime around the 1820’s, what we now call zinfandel was brought to the United States (to Long Island) under a variety of names (zenfendel and black St. Peter’s being two). Curiously, zinfandel was also brought from Croatia to Italy, where it was named primitivo. So if you see an Italian primitivo in the wine shop, guess what? It’s zinfandel.
The NRA Wine Club—Locked and Loaded
A Guest Blog
by the HoseMaster
April 13, 2018
Note from Karen: The HoseMaster is the funniest satirist writing about wine in the world today. Every one of his columns is hilarious, but his recent piece on the NRA’s Wine Club had me laughing so hard I was crying (and on this topic, we should all be crying). You can read the HoseMaster on a regular basis by going to timatkin.com; it’s published by English wine critic Tim Atkin. With the HoseMaster’s and Tim’s permission, we reprint the NRA piece below. Hold onto your seat; this could be the most brutally witty piece of satirical wine writing you’ll read all year.
Hello, I’m Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association inviting you to become a member of the NRA Wine Club. At the NRA, we believe that nothing goes better with live ammunition than several glasses of specially-selected NRA Wine Club wines. Let’s face it, friends, if your weapon is loaded, you’re better off being loaded, too.