Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Raclette with Marcus: Bordeaux-Inspired Wines

Fellow Montreal blogger Marcus joined my bro-in-law and the rest of my family for a Saturday evening Raclette dinner. As our cheesy raclette also featured grilled strips of fine beef, we opted for red wine, using my last "Raclette Bordelais" as inspiration for tonight's Bordeaux- inspired theme. The wines were decanted around and hour before dinner and tasted blind.

On our left was 2000 Ghiaie Della Furba, a Tuscan blend of cabernet, merlot and shiraz. Tasted here previously (1,2) and one of my top cellar selections, it was a deep dark ruby red - the darkest of the three. Continuing the theme from previous tastings, this juice was spicy, pruney, leathery and earthy with dark berry fruit and some floral notes - easily the most interesting of the three. Dense blackberry fruit and big velvety tannins enveloped the palate for a nice smooth, long finish.
cork. 14% alcohol
Score: 17.5/20
Price: C$41 (SAQ)

In the middle was Marcus' 2001 Dorigo Montsclapade, a cabernet (60%)/merlot (40%) blend from the Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC in Italy - my first wine from this region. Dark cherry red, the nose lead with oak, tea leaf and black pepper, later showing some pine needle and a hint of prunes. On the palate it was very simple, smooth but unstructured, with mild, velvety tannins. Clean and simple, I thought it was the Canuck wine.
cork. 13.5% alcohol
Score: 16.5/20
Price: C$39.25 (SAQ)

On the right was the 2002 Osoyoos Larose, a merlot-dominated Bordeaux blend. This wine is the product of a joint venture between two large wine producers, Vincor (now part of Constellation Brands) and Groupe Taillan (owners of Gruaud Larose). Ruby red, with complex notes of cedar, plum, stawberry, green pepper, tobacco, basil, flint and a dash of capuccino, it was an ever changing chameleon over the evening. Light bodied and delicate on the palate, delivering a modest finish that teased you with greatness, then disappeared. One of the rare Canadian wines reviewed on this site, it will be interesting to see if this wine survives the integration into the Constellation empire. I thought it was the Italian.
cork. 13.5% alcohol
Score: 17/20
Price: C$45

In the end, the Ghiaie was the group's preferred wine, but I must confess that I enjoyed the Osoyoos Larose best with this meal. I continue to believe there is a great future for wine in Canada's Okanagan Valley, and as these vineyards mature we should start to see some truly compelling wines. Based on my experience so far, Merlot will be the grape to lead this region to greatness.


Marcus said...

I gotta catch up with these... sorry for the delay.

What a great night that was!

Agreed on the best wine. And I agree on the best dinner wine too. The Canuck was totally my style but I had to worship that Tuscan in the end. The Dorigo was tea leafy -- I'm glad you noted that. I think it would've been better not trying to compete with the extraction and richness of the other two. But bottom line it just wasn't quite as good especially since they're asking for $49.50 for it, not $39 (but on sale downtown for $34 at the moment -- a more reasonable price).

You weren't there but I think Cam was my witness. I singled out the Canuck wine like the true patriot I am. (Actually it was more that it didn't seem Italian to me while the other two had markings in my mind.) Anyway, it was the confidence I got from that which lead to my inspired Crokinole play. What can I say -- when you're on, you're on.

Joe said...

Hi Marcus - I was worried you would miss this. I hate to be tough on the Dorigo - it was very smooth and balanced, as should be expected at that price, but it just lacked the complexity of the other two, and seemed to be low in acid. I think I saw you pick the Canuck out - well done - glad it helped with the Crokinole! Looking forward to the next one.