Grape Expectations

31st Aug 2014

As you may know, Fridays are a big day for The Vine Wine Club because we taste wines to place in our shop. We look forward to it! Last week was filled with as much anticipation as the others Fridays. There is a child-like excitement in the room as our rep pulls the samples from her bag. My favorites tend to be the reds that I know that she's opened early enough in the day that they've been allowed time to breathe. Last Friday, she pulled out an Amarone. My absolute favorite. Known for its full-bodied mocha richness, ripeness beyond regular harvest, and relatively high alcohol volume, I was bracing myself for this little touch of heaven in a glass. As I tasted through the rest of the offerings, my mind stayed on what awaited me...what was certain to be the last tasting of the evening...the bottle that I was assured to finish later on that evening. The process of making Amarone sets this wine a part and places it in an elite category. The grapes are allowed to hang on the vines a little longer than other grapes. When they are finally harvested, the grapes are placed on a screen to dry out even more, allowing the sugar to become more concentrated and the grapes to lose water. When the grapes are finally pressed, the resulting juice is normally aged about 5 years. When my Amarone was poured, my mind had already made up in my mind that it was going to be the best thing that I would have today. Even though it wasn't as dark in color as an Amarone typically is and poured a little light, I was still anticipating greatness. I wasn't so pleased. I didn't taste that rich glass of raisins that I expected. I didn't get that mouthful of ripeness that I anticipated. Disappointed, I realized that I had just had my first experience of a bad year. My educated guess was that 2009 had possibly been a wet year which would have presented a challenge for winemakers. But what do I know? What I did know is that this wasn't what I expected and I will wait for a better vintage for my customers. You're welcome!

In case you are curious, it was a wet year. I did some homework.


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