Labratting the 2005 Monticello Vineyards Presidential Red – by Scott Candage (“favrerocks”)
Just a bit of info about myself. I wouldn’t consider myself a wine expert like many of you here, or even close to anyone here. I’ve always enjoyed wine but only recently have I wanted to become serious about it. I’ve seen the blend information on this wine, and I do like Merlot and Syrah (don’t think I’ve ever had a Cab Franc), so I do expect to like this wine. My review might not be as detailed as other’s reviews might be, but a rookie’s perspective still has value (I hope).
So, some detail. I chilled this wine in my refrigerator all day then poured it over ice and gulped some down, very nice! KIDDING!!!! Per WD’s advice, splash decanted and waited for about an hour before trying. Very deep red, almost blood red color, very even color. The first thing I noticed on decanting was the tremendous fruit scent of the wine (the nose, I believe I’ve seen you all call it). I can still smell a little bit of the alcohol through the wine even after almost an hour of decanting, but I’m sure this will dissipate as the night wears on.
First impression of my first glass, without food – I’m quite surprised that the very fruity nose doesn’t turn into a massive fruit taste. It’s a very smooth wine, seems very balanced to me. The alcohol blends well in this wine, it’s not overbearing at all, but it is definitely there. I don’t find it too heavy of a wine on my tongue, nor too light. There’s quite a few different flavors going on, but even though I had read some of the reviews, I’m not going to pretend that, at this moment in my wine-drinking experience, I can tell the difference between different notes in the wine (or any wine). I didn’t want to use my labratting experience as a way to claim something I don’t know, nor did I want to merely repeat what others have said. However, I am enjoying the nice balance and taste of this wine. I’m betting this wine would go well with stronger cheeses but might overpower milder ones.
Second glass – with food (1:30 post-decanting). I saw that Chris Corley recommended that the Presidential Red went well with spicy Asian food. Unfortunately, I live in the Middle of Nowhere, North Dakota, and such wonderful cuisine is really nowhere to be found for me. So, when in doubt, I go to the best butcher I’ve ever been to (Walt’s Meat Market, Williston, North Dakota – “No one can beat our meat”) and get myself a nice rib-eye steak (prepared pepper-encrusted, garlic mashed on the side). With more time in the decanter, the wine gets more complex, and more flavors I can’t yet identify are definitely present (I know most of you are rolling your eyes, but this is a new experience for me – this is actually the first time I’ve ever used a decanter for wine, I just never knew). What I can say is that these new flavors are deeper and different than the more fruity flavors I experienced before. This wine goes just ok with the steak; its complex flavors are kind of overpowering the steak. I now see how this would go well with spicier food. But, that’s my problem, not yours. It’s not horrible with the steak, but I wouldn’t call it ideal either. I’m still enjoying it though. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to finish my dinner and my second glass of this very nice wine.
Did you miss me, I’m back. Third glass – with baseball – my beloved Boston Red Sox vs. the Tampa Bay Rays on MLB.tv (2-1 Rays, middle of the 5th) (2:00 post decanting). The alcohol scent isn’t really dissipating by now (I thought it might have by now), but is not overpowering. However, this seems to be a pretty high alcohol content wine, as I’m definitely feeling it after only two smallish glasses (for me, I bet they would be pretty average-sized glasses for most experienced wine fans here). The flavors are deeper and more complex, and are separating for me. If I were more experienced I might be able to identify the individual flavors, but I’ll save that more experienced labrats. But I am enjoying the flavors that I am tasting.
Final verdict – I really enjoy the 2005 Monticello Vineyards Presidential Red. A lot. If one were to bring a bottle or two of this wine to a dinner party where they were serving strongly flavored food, one would be the hit of the party and would be well remembered by the hosts of the party. I’ll try to find stronger flavored foods to pair this wine with when I get the full order. However, I would recommend this wine to anyone. It’s very flavorful, complex, and accessible to both wine veterans and rookies like me.