(In this article you will find comments on complexity, the effects of oak, and a representation of the Old World in the New World)
Llano Estadado’s “Viviano”
This blend (Cabernet Sauvignon 70%, Sangiovese 30%) reminds the wine lover of a Super Tuscan marriage of grapes. Llano Estacado, a large Texas Winery that has earned its reputation as one of the Lone Star State’s best wineries, produces this wine that is one of the state’s best wines and it deserves your close attention. Contact the winery to see whether it can be shipped to your state and then follow the experience of this wine tasting with me.
Medium ruby, clear, clean, and bright, with aromas of earth, truffle, vanilla, smoke, clove, mineral suggestions, spice, cedar, leather, and dried cherries demand the term “complex.” Complex flavors are not just a multiple of tastes but also the creation of new taste experiences that make tasting wines so much more interesting than just the identification of aromas. Gripping fruit and oak tannins that tame as the wine breathes will endear this wine to steak (the wine insists Texas steak, of course).
This wine has spent 40 months in new French and American oak and its long tenure has shown how more time in oak is not necessarily more oak on the palate. The oak has softened and integrated with the cherry flavored base of the wine. The nose and palate are so complex that you keep getting impressed with new offerings on every sip. It is not a reminder of Napa but of the Old World, with its lighter punch and its obvious finesse and minerality. After the rich models of Napa and the heavy wines from Barossa Valley in Australia, this wine is a refreshing journey into the world of “less is better.”
The fruit, as you will already have gathered, is not in your face but is married and melded into the oak flavors, creating new and developing excitement as you drink. It should age well and its tertiary flavors should constantly surprise as the ongoing chemical actions in the bottle reveal the wine’s as yet unknown charms. However, notice how the finish evolves. The fruit vanishes first; the oak lingers longer, and then the heat of the alcohol and the acid fade away slowly after a long, slow departure. We would call this a medium finish because when we refer to the length of the finish we mean the way the fruit and oak flavors last, not any other lasting effects from the wine’s characteristics, such as alcohol or acid.
The grapes were picked at 24.5 brix (the sugar level at harvest), so it does not display any overripe fruit, such as very ripe plum or prune flavors.
Emotional rating? For those who love the wines of the Old World and worship the wonders of the marriage of fruit and oak, it is a wine that will thrill and ring long lasting emotional bells.
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You’ll find many great Colorado wines described in my books, “Experiencing Colorado Wine, Volume 1 – The Dry Red Wines ” and “Experiencing Colorado Wine, Volume 2 – The Whites and Rosés.” Volume 1 also provides descriptions of the pairing of several Colorado wines with a great recipes by great Colorado chefs.
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These books entertain, educate, and entice readers to experience Colorado wine!