Tommasi Rafael 1999 Classico Superiore Valpolicella

It’s been awhile, but now that the holidays are behind me for another year and I’m not on any extended business trips and the inevitable recycled air gushing through the aircraft’s well-designed “air circulators” doesn’t get me sicker than a dog I should be able to get back to one of my passions – you got it, drinking wine.

I don’t mind going on business trips for a couple of weeks at a time. But the aftermath of plane rides is what throws me underground for a spell.  First it’s rush to get to the airport, pay $25 for checked baggage, take everything out of your pockets per the TSA agent at the security checkpoint including my belt and removing my shoes has been second nature to say the least, then raise your hands above your head only to be pulled out of the line and asked by the TSA agent in an accusatory tone “What do you have in your left pocket?”

By nature, I’m a bit of a smart _ss but I know when not to be one. And this isn’t one of those times to be a smart _ss. I replied rather seriously “Nothing, the other TSA agent asked that I remove everything from my pockets, so I’m curious as to what your X-Ray picked up”. Of course I didn’t get a response but did get a pat down from the top of my left shoulder to my left ankle paying special attention to my left pocket. Then he said to “Move On” in the same tone as Yul Brenner said to Eli Wallach in “the Magnificent Seven” when he told him to “Ride On”. I’ve decided never to fly on a plane again (except maybe for going across the pond)!

Okay, I’m off my soapbox and on to the wine.

A blend of Corvina, Molinara, and Rondinella grapes from the Rafael vineyard makes this Valpolicella a delectable red wine. And one that I have not had in awhile. The last time I had this wine it would have been considered a young wine. Upon opening this and pouring it through an aerator to open the bouquet a bit I noticed the wine was a dark ruby color with an orange-brown hue on the rim of the wine. So far I’m happy with what I see.

On the nose I found a lot of cherry and fresh ripe plum – lots of fresh ripe plum, maybe some blackberries too. On the first taste, juicy plum was the dominating flavor with dark cherry and black currant. On subsequent sips the flavors were more dark cherry with hints of blueberry. The finish was very smooth and velvety. If I remember correctly this tasted as good as when I tried this as a young wine in the early 2000’s. So, this seemed to cellar quite well.  Unfortunately I won’t be able to see how this cellars for another five years or so as I’m all out of the 1999 vintage. As a matter of fact, I’m out of the wine altogether. Guess I’ll have to buy several bottles of another vintage and start the experiment all over again.

We paired this with grilled chicken, spaghetti squash, and steamed broccoli. To my surprise it went very well with this meal although I’m sure it would go well with red meat and red sauce pasta dishes too. At only 12.5% ABV this wine still packed a punch or is this because I haven’t had wine in awhile, or am I still reeling over the TSA experience? Reasonably priced at $21.