Thursday, July 19, 2007

2004 Domaine de la Perriere Vielles Vignes

I pride myself on vinuous diversity, tasting and collecting wines made from a plethora of grapes, using multiple winemaking styles, selling at all price points, coming from every region around the world:

"I believe every wine has a perfect time, place, food pairing, and friend to share it with." - Joe

But I have avoided Loire wines over the years. That is actually not true, as I have had great experiences with Loire WHITE wines - glorious Sancerre, Vouvray, Pouilly-Fume, Muscadet. But I was stung by a vile Loire red years ago and I have not touched one since.

The wine writers seem to be equally suspicious. While I could pull together many quotes, the great Jancis Robinson (a writer I find more old world in her preferences) said of Loire reds; "In the old days reds in two years out of three were thin, weedy and tart..." While it is no longer "the old days", it seems to me that Loire winemakers continue their battle with Mother Nature in this northerly wine-growing region, desperately trying to get their vines to ripen.

In the Loire, red wines make up 26% of production, and Cabernet Franc is the principal red wine grape. The AOC of Chinon is famous for its reds, so I thought that my tentative return to Loire reds should start here.

The 2004 Domaine de la Perrière was in some ways both a disappointment and vindication. Light purple in colour, the nose was quite interesting - vegetal, earthy and woodsy with scents of cocoa powder, pepper and gooseberries. The rest could simply quote Jancis above. Very dry, light bodied and minerally with some black cherry fruit, the sharp acidity was overwhelming, putting everything off balance. It worked a bit better with the lamb kebabs, slicing through the grease, and the wine softened ever so slightly over the evening. It was tasted both cool, right out of the bottle, and warm after a long decant, with similar notes.
12.5% alcohol
Score: 14/20
Price: C$19.55 (SAQ)

Perhaps I am the beer swilling lout at the back of the opera house and I just "don't get it". Or perhaps the terroir is speaking to us, like a cheap 70s horror flick, saying "Get Out! You cannot fully ripen here..."

Regardless, I never give up on a grape or region. I will retreat to the Gironde, lick my wounds, and re-plan my assault on the grape Breton.


Marcus said...

Oh dear.

Why do you think I've resorted to uploading those provocative pictures of Jancis on my site?

That's right -- those are fighting words!

And now, after hinting at it all along with your dislike of Canadian wine, you're dissing northern reds now too!

I'm going to have to doctor those images of you reflected in your bottles and them stick on the body of Homer Simpson! Watch out!

Joe said...

My good friend Marcus, I never said I dislike Canadian wine! I love the Okanagan (especially Sandhill, Quail's Gate), and I am quite impressed with Ontario whites. I have never met a Niagara RED that I liked, but I have tried SOOO few. I want to like them - I blew 70 bucks on some Clos Jordanne the other day because I really want to like them!

As for Northern reds, I had a very nice Marcel Deiss Pinot Noir from Alsace, and I quite enjoy Zweigelt on occasion. I suspect it is more than latitude.

Do not fear, Marcus, the discovery will be made (I have a few more Loire Reds in my cellar to sample) and all will be set aright. Perhaps after our upcoming tasting we can raid the secret JoeCave and break open that Clos Jordanne!

Please do not reveal the secret identity of The JoeMan. As for my image upon Mr. Simpson, no one will notice that you have doctored the photo!


David said...

yipes, comments are getting rough here! I don't know if I've tried a red Loire yet that I recall.

Joe said...

Hi David. Check with Marcus and Brooklynguy, they both seem to have more experience with them. Someday Marcus will forgive me...

Marcus said...

Loire reds usually make for great food wines David. That's part of why I like them so much. But everyone comes from a different place, has a bias... I'm not holding anything against Joe just hyping some of my favourite everyday bottles, which obviously are not for everyone. That and I do like to threaten influential types like Joe with PhotoShop whenever the chance arises.

Joe said...

Yes, this particular bottle was not for me, but I am not so easily discouraged. Influential? Ha! It is to laugh.