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    Revisiting the Top Two Red Wines from the 2018 Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival

    untitledIt’s June, and warm and sunny.? When summer hits most think of the beach and school vacation.? While we also look forward to the lazy days of summer, we tend to look ahead just tiny bit, to the last half of September, and the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival.? This is our favorite wine and food event of the year, with unbeatable venues, great wines and lots of equally excellent food. ? It is how it should be done.? You can read an overview of our impressions from last year’s event by clicking here.

    This year the festival unfolds in Newport, at various venues, between Thursday, September 19 and Sunday, September 22.? There will rosecliffbe wine dinners, educational seminars, the traditional Friday night Wine and Rosecliff Gala, and of course the Grand Tasting Saturday and Sunday.? You can read about all the events on the festival website here.? This is a weekend any wine and food lover should be at.

    Every year we find some spectacular wines, and some surprising wines.? Last year was no exception.? Our top two red wines from 2018 were truly exceptional, so much so that we planned to do a retrospective tasting of them to see if anything had changed, including, potentially, our opinions.? Well it’s June, and it’s time to look at those wines again as we prepare for another great year in Newport.? We opened them up recently and did a very critical comparison, looking for changes and, possibly, a different outcome.? You can read our entire Top Ten Red Wines list from last year by clicking here.? If you’re interested in the Top Ten Whites, that is available here.

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    Let’s see what’s in these very special bottles.? We’ll also include our original comments written immediately after last year’s festival.

    2012 Tinchero Napa Valley BRV Cabernet Sauvignon – this was our #2 red wine from last year’s Newport event, just a whisperIMG_2608 away from taking the top spot.? It was part of a top shelf table of wines from Trinchero, across the board.? You can read more about the Trinchero Napa Valley Reds here.? While it has only been a year since the first time we tried it,? almost not worth mentioning in the evolution of these wines, we were curious to see if things had changed.

    Our original comments, from last September:

    ?‘another big and balanced wine, this is from Napa Valley mountain fruit, in this case Mt. Veeder and Atlas Peak.? It is rich and powerful, with all the pieces of a great wine.? This retails at $80, and is worth every penny.? Part of a rather stunning lineup of wines from this producer.? Just a hair below #1, and certainly an argument could be made for either.’

    And now our current impressions:

    This is dark red with ruby highlights.? The nose is huge out of the bottle, with dark berries, caramel and a touch of mint.? It is mouth coating, full bodied, rich and luxurious.? Firm tannins and balancing acid make it lively, balanced and fresh, while it seamlessly delivers a full throttle red wine experience.? This is still great.

    So clearly things have not deteriorated.? Quite the contrary.? But was it enough to claim the top spot, here, almost a year after the final verdict?? Let’s see, by taking a look at the other wine.

    2013 Ken Forrester ‘The Bridge’ Cabernet Sauvignon –?the #1 wine from last year, again just by a little.? This was simply beautiful, a little less rich than the BRV, but so polished.

    Here is the original note, again from last September:

    ‘this winery, from Stellenbosch in South Africa, excelled across theIMG_2602 board.? This particular wine was breathtaking.? However is not South African, but instead the result of a collaborative effort between Ken and Sonoma based Jesse Katz.? The fruit is all from Farrow Ranch in Sonoma’s Alexander Valley.? It is 100% Cabernet, rich and luxurious, and beautifully balanced as well.? Only 8 barrels were made.? It retails right about at that $100 price tag, and it is worth it if you can afford to splurge.? We are going to do so.? Just a fabulous, world class bottle of wine.’

    Now our recent tasting notes:

    Also a very dark red with ruby highlights, but more brilliant than the wine above.? The nose is still a bit more restrained than the BRV, bringing dark berry, mocha, molasses and herbs.? It is very complex.? Full bodied on the palate, but not quite as rich as the wine above.? This has nice acid and balance.? Very, very long and maintains everything through the mid-palate and finish.? This is also great, but a touch less integrated right now.?

    How to choose?? These are both still exceptional.? We put a half case of The Bridge in the wine cellar so we can watch it over time.? I’m wishing we had done the same with the BRV.? Right now the BRV is more seamless, a touch bigger, and we would likely reverse our rankings from last year.? Again not by much, as we are splitting hairs here.? Still, it is fun to try them again and see them evolve, even if it has only been a year.

    We’re looking forward to new, and equally great, finds at this year’s Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival.? Hopefully we’ll see youglasses there.

    As for the two wines above, if you’re looking for a great bottle of red, then either of these will certainly do.

    A votre santé!

     

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