Thursday, May 26, 2005

Next post Smith Haut Laffite 97

The Merlot of Saint Emilion, aim to please

Yes the Chateau Balestard la Tonelle was ruling for an hour.
Not as deep as the Pontet Canet, the wine was ruby with a medium intensity. A brown rim was showing.

Blackberry, cherry and cedar were dominating the nose. Got oranges and vanilla on the second swirl and some wood and mushroom on the third.

The palate wasn't intense or very structured. The length was medium to long but the flavours were showing like in an animated movie. I got fast sequences of sweet chestnut, blackberry, tomato and vanilla on a live acidity. The finish was the comeback of the orange peel.

Translate Merlot by Merlot dominated blend and you will be fine.
95 is accessible in Saint Emillion.

Pontet Canet 85 or why your Cab need to age

I had the pleasure and the privilege to taste

Pontet Canet 1985
Bastard Lamontagne 1995
Smith Haut Laffitte 1997.

One hour after aeration, the St Emilion was ruling the Smith at the same time full but restrained. Pontet Canet tasted weak almost over the hill. 3 hours after aeration, Pauillac was ruling the table in the perfect expression of what old Cabernet taste like.

The rim was a large dark brown and the color garnet.
The fresh cassis and spices were obvious on the nose, as young and clean than a 5 year old.
The first flavours were phenomenal, cherry, cassis, some spice, a little lemon. Because of the length, we could taste extend the magic with cedar, meat and more blackberry. The tannins were ripe and carrying the flavor like a peacock tail. Might be my first peacock tail ever.

On a non academic note, I tasted the large deposit on the glass.
They tasted like a sweet/sour old wood. Judging by the size of the colloids, no filter was applied.

Like every Bordeaux, Pontet Canet is a Cabernet sauvignong/Merlot blend. Pauillac blend more cab and Saint Emillion more Merlot.

Old Cab, a league on their own.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Torrontes, a treasure of white wine

What a nice surprise!!! Last week end, I was wondering the alleys of my local wine stores trying to find something exciting to pair a vegetable salad. Never had Torrontes before so instead of the $8 bottle I hit the $15.

Never had too much luck with white under $10. It means high yield, poor flavors and careless fermentation. So here we go, my first Torrontes, Don David Michel Torino, $15.

'OUAAAA, AMAZING' would have said Andrea on Fine Living Channel. No, she can do better than that, she is a Master Sommelier. She just think you can't taste...I am sure you do and you would find in this Torrontes a great nose of melon and flowers. Then it evolves on kiwis. The palate is long, showing orange peels, some minerality and a great balance reminding me of those white Bordeaux.
The vineyard is located at 5500 feet in the Cafayete Valley. The location explain low yield, great fruits and the balance between ripe sweet fruit and some acidity stretching the flavors and length.

Starting to love South America and those backroad grapes...
For the pairing, the master sommelier still has few tricks to show.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Tempranillo from...Argentina

During our monthly tasting, we were invited to bring Argentinean Reds.
The cabernet and Malbec were over represented. However, the Malbec have a big flaw in their balance. They are dominated by a bitterness at the end of the palate that's highly despicable. At the other scope, we find Cabernet, overworked, overoaked, ready to be shipped to the US.

Among those bottles was a Tempranillo Familia Zuccardi Q 2002. The nose had some butter and plums. The balance was perfect aside of some tannins that should disappear with time. The length was long and complex. Give some time to this young talent, he will reward you for it.

The weekend after, I tasted the 2001 at Churasqueira Plataforma (only $35). The nose was full of red fruit and the palate has plenty of plums and blackberry. The wine offered a great balance without the tannins of the 2002. It was complex and very fleshy. A delicacy with the sirloin.

Zuccardi found a great place to grow Tempranillo. It's a KEEPER.