Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Updated Review: *** Chez Ray Rosso Grande "Kit" Wine, 2002

Original Review, December, 2008: This is one of my earliest fermentation ventures, made in 2002 from a kit Rosso Grande, now marketed by a firm called Cellar Classic.

The kit comes in the form of a bag of juice concentrate with tannins and other additives, along with required yeast, preservatives and the like. Although composed for six gallons, I made a five gallon batch, concentrating the flavors and adding more alcohol to the end result.

In the glass, it is dark magenta, virtually opaque. Looks like a young wine, despite its six years of age. Aroma has that sweetness which is characteristic of these kit wines.

On the palate, it provides a round sweet middle, brightened by a flash of everything cherry: black cherries, cherry cough medicine, cherry candy. The sweet cherry essence lingers for a bit, creating a modest finish. I'll give this three stars out of five. Not complex, but enjoyable. Doesn't need age, but I am curious about what age will do - it shows no bricking or thinning of flavor or anything that would suggest it is on the cusp of old age.


Updated review, almost four years later, now a full 10 years from vintage date, September, 2012:  Medium muddy red in the glass.  Remains sweet, bright purple and aromatic on the nose.  The palate carries all the cherries found in the earlier tasting.  Fun, soft aromatic - some will find it more reminiscent of a liqueur than a wine, but so be it.  Friendly, bold and soft.  Will keep for years and years. 

Made a 50/50 blend of Rosso Grande 2002 and Chez Ray Bordeaux Blend 2004 (B4):  Soft nose with a hint of helium funk.  Balanced attack of bright fruit, deep cherries on the middle and a soft oak finish.  Works pretty well as a friendly alternative to either of these separately.  

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