Happening Now Tasting 13: La Crotta di Vegneron Chambave Supérieur Quatre Vignobles 2010, Vallée d’Aoste

In preparation for a forthcoming blind Italian-Vino-Guessing-Game next Friday I'd like to strengthen my general palatal (and of course visual as well as nasal) abilities with a Happening Now Tasting of a red blend wine from a pretty much unknown and for my palate totally uncharted territory! I suppose this wine would have been far too viciously mean as a participant in a blind tasting after all! Or who has ever heard of Chambave Rosso or Petit Rouge? Today, for a change, I am totally honest! Me - NEVER ever! Anyway ..., for a simpleton like me this stuff sounds awfully French, doesn't it?! What is it then? Well, in short: this Chambave Supérieur Quatre Vignobles from 2010 comes from the partly French speaking Vallée d’Aoste in the very North-West of Italy. Its producer La Crotta di Vegneron is probably the most famous cooperative winery in the valley. At least to my limited knowledge. The main raw material, about 70%, for this wine is the very late ripening small and "dusty" coloured Petit Rouge. An autochthonous grape varietal from Vallée d’Aoste. The other 30% is a wild assortment of other local varietals like Pinot Noir, Gamay, Cornalin, Fumin etc. There is probably more information to find about this wine! But I am too lazy right now! I am thirsty! Now it is time for some decent Chambave …

6:21 pm (popped and poured)

Colour: juvenile looking semi-murky ruby red colour with consistent colouration

Nose: plenty of dark blue berries, very ripe and juicy ones, a bit flowery, quite a lot of peppery spiciness – a bit dornfelder'ish, slight animal odour; right now a bit impetuous and savage, not really reserved or shy. 

Taste: very fruitful and a bit “jump starting”, rather soft and not a lot of tannic edges; again plenty dark blue berries, some traces of sweet Amarena cherries, nice lean and not too complex chewiness,pretty spicy (again a bit pepper-dornfelder'ish), to the end a bit of dried pork, gentle smoke, gentle acid and medium length; already pretty quaffable!

7:40 pm

Nose: the dornfelder'ish spiciness is diminishing with every second (at last!), the fruitful character is getting even bolder, dark blue berries or blueberries and emerging bramble are hitting the nasal stage, the flowery (violet'ish) component is still in existence,; right now there is more roundness and balance in this wine at the moment, the once rather savage character might say farewell … soon

Taste: here the Dornfelder character is still prevailing, of course the chewy fruitiness is evident, but this special spiciness is really dominating this Chambave at the moment; the structure remains not overwhelmingly subtle, the finish is fine, so far no substantial change!

9:03 pm

No substantial changes; on the palate a bit more sweet, emerging traces of liquorice, special dornfelder'ish characteristics remain; overall a bit more lame and developing worries of flatland'ish features - freely interpreted it is getting a bit boring ...

8:16 pm (the day after)

Nose: right now a bit more slightly boiled fruit, a bit flinty for some reason, rather mild pepper (Dornfelder pissed off! Finally!), perhaps a bit more sweeping, the nice flowery accent vanished

Taste: no boiled characteristics, the blueberry and cherry fruit seems more relaxed and not as dark as yesterday, overall still rather lively, perhaps a bit more brawny, the finish appears a bit longer as well, overall a bit more gentle and not that erratic anymore (I think this has to do with the almost pissed off dorfelder'ish characteristics)

Overall a close to decency red blend with certain appealing attributes. These excess-dornfelder'ish-peppery-flavours made this wine a little bit tricky to enjoy. Not quite decent, but certainly so la-la***

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