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The Cellar: Red Wines To Serve on Christmas

Saturday, December 22, 2012


At the most recent ‘Evening with Wine’ event at the Providence Wine Academy, participants tasted quite the selection of big red wines, as well as a series of sparkling wines meant to provide inspiration for their holiday wine shopping. Among the wines participants tasted were 6 quality red wines, from all over the world, which were sampled in three comparative, head-to-head tastings.

Battle #1

The first blind tasting was a varietal showdown between an Australian Shiraz and a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Both wines, the 2010 Woodcutters Shiraz from Barossa Valley’s Torbreck Estates and the

2007 Perata Vineyards Frank’s Cabernet Sauvignon, are great wines and very reasonably priced at around $20 per bottle. Both wines are made in old world style with very little new oak being used and, in the case of the Torbreck, fermenting the wine in cement and bottling it unfiltered. Perhaps because the Shiraz comes across more like a ripe Nothern Rhone Syrah, it was the Napa Cab that was the crowd favorite displaying delicious black currents, bell pepper and eucalyptus, with only hints of oak.

Battle #2

In the second tasting, two old world big boys had it out. This tasting, which saw one of Patrick Lesec’s ’06 Chateauneuf du Papes and Le Salette’s ’06 Amarone della Valpolicella go head-to-head, was

probably the highlight of the evening. Priced at $50 and $60 respectively, both wines are opulent and delicious, both of which make for great holiday gifts. While both wines are dry, they have a level of ripe fruit to them which makes the wines come across super balanced, the best of sweet, savory and sour, all wrapped in a beautiful full body.

Battle #3

The final blind tasting pinned the iconic Zinfandel based wine ‘The Prisoner’ from Orin Swift, a highly rated $40 wine which has won numerous awards in past vintages, against the everyday $13 Old Patch

Red, another Zinfandel based blend from Trentadue. I like to compare so-called ‘great wines’ against ‘everyday wines’ in this type of setting. It really puts the wines on the spot, as well as the consumer. In this case The Prisoner won, but not by much. Both of the wines, with their ripe Zinfandel fruit, are super approachable and easy-drinking, yet both have multiple layers making them interesting and complex. Both wines make for great holiday food wines, but can also be enjoyed by themselves.

Happy Holidays!

Steffen Rasch CSW is ready to answer any wine-related questions, comments or concerns you may have. Feel free to email him at [email protected]. And as always, don’t forget to follow GoLocalProv’s Wine Cellar on Facebook and sign up for one of his tastings through the Providence Wine Academy.


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