Saturday, February 10, 2007

Malbec Showdown - Lagrezette vs. Poesia

With my brother-in-law coming over for dinner, I knew we would open two bottles of wine, so I thought a "New World vs. Old World" thing was in order. Malbec was the subject of this age-old dispute, and was paired with a wintery beef stew.

To compare old world vs. new world Malbec, I grabbed the following from my cellar:

2001 Chateau Lagrezette (Cahors)
2004 Clos des Andes (Mendoza)

The Lagrezette was the elder, with the extra bottle age a distinct edge. While mainly Malbec, this wine also has some Merlot (and Tannat in some vintages). Despite its age, it was a deep purple colour in the glass. On the nose the wine had an awesome creme caramel nose, with blueberries, leather, and some meaty and vegetal scents. Pleasing and complex. On the palate this wine was blackberries and leather with dry, velvety tannins. Extremely well balanced, this wine wine had nice length - ready now, but should also keep for a few more years. Overall, a gem of a wine, in its prime.
Score 17.5/20
Cost: C$24 (SAQ)

The Clos des Andes is a product of Bodegas Poesia. While I have had many Argentinian Malbecs in the past, tonight was my first experience with this estate. The label claims 100% Malbec, but some internet searches say otherwise, so we can say it (like the Lagrezette) is predominantly Malbec. The nose was floral (violet), followed by coffee and chocolate - very peppery as well. On the palate, this youngster was still awkward, showing rich chocolately fruity and powerful, harsh, tannins. While the tannins should settle down over time (they definitely softened over the evening), it was definitely a more "New World" style of wine - great winemaking, but bigger fruit. A nice wine, I will wait a few years before opening my other bottles.
Score 17/20
Cost: C$27 (LCBO)

Overall, a very nice evening of Malbec, with two quality products. Age and elegance won out, with all three tasters giving the nod to the "Old World" selection.

7 comments:

Brooklynguy said...

I have been dipping my toe in the Cahors waters lately, and enjoying tremendously. Some great bargains. I like the Merlot they belnd in, and the resulting medium bodied zippy, food friendly wines. I haven't loved the South American versions, but maybe I should taste some more....

Marcus g58 said...

Cool. I love that you do these themes over a dinner. Great to read about.

I love Cahors, but I don't have much experience with the bigger cuvées d'expression/exception or however they like to call them. It's been all Clos la Coutale, Castel Montplaisir, Chatons des Cedres and Domaine Labrande. But I soon will change that. I have that Lagrezette from 02 to uncork shortly as well as a 98 Ch. Gautoul.

Joe said...

Hi Brooklynguy. You know I love the Southwest - original grapes (Malbec, Tannat), and it is relatively undiscovered. And the Dok and I have a pretty good selection at our local liquor monopoly. I had a Chateau Haute Serre twice, also a pretty good value. For S. Am., try a Norton for a more old world flavour - the Catenas are very well made but very new world. I think Zuccardi Q Malbec was also more old world, but it has been a while...

Dok, the SAQ carries the 1999 Haute Serre for some strange reason - some bottle age for low $$. You can also buy the Moulin Lagrezette, the 'second vin' of Chateau Lagrezette. I have heard it is a good deal (I will actually try to buy one and compare it to its more expensive brother and let you know how it goes).
Cheers!

cookingchat said...

sound like a great match for your stew! I thought Malbec was mostly a blending grape in France, is the Malbec dominated bottles like this common there? what region?

Joe said...

Hi Chat - Malbec is a blending grape in Bordeaux and even Napa, but Argentina and the Cahors region of France produce wines that are Malbec dominated (even 100% Malbec). Rarely does Malbec dominate outside of these regions. Cahors wines are not uncommon, but you have to go to a better wine shope for them. Cheers!

Dr. Vino said...

For a sharper contrast in the two styles you might try one of the more "rustic" Cahors mentioned above--Rolland is the consulting enolgist at Lagrezette.

I think these kinds of tastings are lots of fun.

Cheers,

Joe said...

Fair comment, but it was what I had in the cellar (it was an impromptu idea)! Something to consider for a future event...