I would probably serve a white wine, like the Swiss chasslas in my prior post, with a simple cheese raclette. But tonight's raclette also featured filet mignon so we went red, and my wife insisted on Bordeaux. For five adults we put together a nice flight of three red Bordeaux from different appellations.
On my left was the 2000 Moulin Pey-Labrie from the Canon-Fronsac appellation, a merlot that was a suggestion from Brooklynguy (and previously tasted here in March). Ruby red in the glass, the nose was very subtle, very leathery and peppery at first, reluctantly giving up blackberry, dark cherry, and earthy vegetal and tobacco scents. On the palate it was spicy and lighter bodied that the others, but with a smooth multilayered elegance that had everyone talking. This was even better than the last time around. Drink now.
cork. 13% alcohol
Price: C$35.50 (SAQ)
In the middle was the 2000 Chateau Haut-Breton Larigaudiere from Margaux, and from what I can gather is mainly cab sauv, with some merlot and petit verdot mixed in. I bought this after a great experience with the 1999, thinking the celebrated 2000 vintage would be even better. Dark ruby in the glass, this was the jammiest of the three. On the nose dark cherry fruit, almost blueberry, was followed by violet, mint, truffle and vanilla - not bad, but the simplest of the three. Fuller-bodied than the Pey-Labrie, it was similarly smooth and well-balanced - dry, fresh acidity and velvety tannins - but rather simplistic. I was surprised it was the Margaux. May keep a few years, but fine today. Definitely a nice wine, but just not equal to the other two. Four out of five tasters ranked it last.
cork. 12.5% alcohol
Price: C$39.75 (SAQ)
On my right was the 2003 Chateau Pipeau from St-Emilion, a merlot (90%) with some cab sauv and cab franc. Dark cherry red in the glass, it certainly looked the youngest. The nose was closed at first, but opened nicely with some air to reveal a very leathery and oaky nose, roses, cloves, mint, vanilla, liquorice and smoke. Beautiful on the palate - very dry, with big velvety tannins, this was a full-bodied, spicy and flavourful wine, but with impeccable poise and balance. Four out of five tasters rated the Pipeau the best. Note the serious price discount to the other two - great value. Tasted here last November, it must be aging well - score is up.
cork. 13% alcohol
Score: 17.5/20 (very close to an 18, maybe next year)
Price: C$28 (LCBO futures)
The wines were all decanted an hour before dinner and enjoyed over the evening. They were all classy and a nice pairing for the meal, but the Pipeau was the hands-down winner, and even more compelling considering the price. Cheers!