Most all of red wines are aged in oak. The reason for this is to add some tannins and flavors to the wine. Whenever you have a wine that has a vanilla aroma or taste means that it has been infused with the wood from most of the time either French, American, or Hungarian barrels. Sometimes they use a combination of the different barrels.
How long should a wine stay in oak barrels? For the most part, it is 1 or 2 years and for some nicer wines they will even go with 3 years. That is why I was surprised by the 2003 Carini Cuvee Sixty Five because the sixty five designates how many months it was aged in 100% French oak barrels. It is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The winery’s website no longer carried the wine but from a quick Google search it seems like this wine was originally priced at $80 and slowly came all the way down to $19.99. Here are the tasting notes from Fine Wine & Good Spirits:
‘Here it is The 2003 Carini “cuvee 65”, aged for an unprecedented 5+ years (65 months) in 100% French oak, thiswine represents a true commitment to a vintage that just needed more time to reach its peak. On the nose, we find aromas of black cherry liquor, licorice, spice box, cedar, smoke, and more. Just a bit restrained upon opening, asthe wine sits in the glass, and the level of your bottle drops, the flavors begin to unfold in layers. Dark black fruits are at the front, with the red fruits underneath, and hints of black tea, tapanade, and savory earthiness. It is full bodied and rich with a spot on acidity and smooth, rich tannins that really grip. After such an extensive elevage, this wine is ready to drink now, but will certainly age and improve for many years. Enjoy it now but put some away as well and your patience will be rewarded.’
So how was it?
Color – Super dark red.
Nose – Vanilla, licorice, earth and a bit of cinnamon.
Taste – Blackberry tart and licorice.
Finish – Long finish, high acid, and sharp bold tannins.
Overall, I was a little disappointed on how much investment that was taken on this wine through the barrel time. It is still a good wine but I do not think it is an $80 wine. It is almost tar tannic and super-dry. The rest of the notes were good but I just expected so much more.