Thursday, March 27, 2008
Montreal Salon des Vins, Day 1
Between my tasting group, wine travel (1,2) and everyday wines I have the opportunity to taste many different wines. But as depicted in Edward's Wine Drinkers Dilemma, my tasting experience is a mere drop.
But it doesn't have to be a mere drop! In a effort to increase the size of that drop, and perhaps even make a dent in the liquid filled decanter, I attended the Montreal Salon des Vins.
Held once every two years, the Salon des Vins is not particularly unique, but it is a large event, hosting a variety of makers/distributors in the Montreal Palais des Congres, each offering their wares for tasting and sales.
On the plus side, the event features wines that are not available at the local liquor monopoly (case discounts, even for a mixed case if from same distributor) and it allows you to sample widely before dropping $$$.
On the negative side, it is large, crowded and expensive. The 15$ entrance fee is not too bad, but the coupons (1$ each) per taste (approx 2oz pour) vary widely - one table was charging 2$ for a 2oz pour of $12 verdicchio - ridiculous! Also, the wines are "organized" by distributor, not region - you really have to wander around to find what you are looking for.
Despite all that I had a great time. My objective was to taste widely, and I made Burgundy a key focus for Day 1. I have notes on 17 wines (sounds worse than it was as I spit the bad stuff and many were 1oz pours), here are some highlights:
- I had an absolutely great time with three Grand Cru Chablis from Moreau, all worthy of 18+ JoeScores. The 2006 Vaudesir was a stunning example of a classically-styled (steely, minerally) Chablis. The 2005 Les Clos was very different, creme brulee and creamy, never had a Chablis like it - more like a southern White Burgundy, an absolute joy. The 2005 Valmur was a cross between the other two, very delicious.
- the 2003 Domaine Meix-Foulot Mercurey 'Clos du Chateau Montaigu' was an unusually tannic Burgundy. Simple floral, raspberry, dark unsweetened cocoa, vanilla, some pepper, with big, dry gripping tannins and dry raspberry fruit. A neat bottle, needs some cellar time. I am finding that I quite like most of the reds of Mercurey, especially at their more modest price points.
- a NZ distributor convinced me to try two Craggy Range wines, the 2005 Sophia and the 2005 Te Kahu. Neat expressions of Melot, the Te Kahu was more of a brute, needing more time in the cellar, while the Sophia was soft and elegant. Given the massive price difference I suggest cellaring the Te Kahu.
Lots more to talk about, I'll save that for a future post.