Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bu, Bar à Vin?

Bu is a Montreal wine bar ... well, sort of. Yes, it has an extensive list of wines and special "flights" of wines by the glass (constantly changing), but technically you cannot just sit down and have a drink - you have to order from the kitchen.

Which brings me to the main reason you need to visit Bu - the food. Yes, the wine list is great and the flights are interesting and challenging, but the star is Ms. Alba Delgado, "la chef de cuisine", who brings her twenty years in Italy to a tight selection of flavourful and impeccably-made Italian classics. I've been twice now and I had the "risotto du jour" both times - amongst the best risottos in town. But I digress....

Tonight's intrepid trio of wine tasters included myself, Marcus (who has moved over to Facebook), and my bro-in-law. Our opening flight featured a few whites:

2006 Cecilia Zeta del Tucano (Vermentino di Toscana)
2006 Odysseus (Priorat)
2006 Domaine Larue St-Aubin 1er Cru "Murgers des Dents de Chien" (Burgundy)

The Cecilia was thin and light, with creamy apple and key lime notes... crisp, green and unoaked, not bad. The Odysseus, crafted from Pedro Ximenez grapes, was soft and flavourful on the palate...cantaloupe, pears and applesauce on the nose, a touch hot - I had it pegged for a dry Jurancon (see Alder's winery description). The Domaine Larue was my first from this Burgundian appellation - an oaky, creamy, smokey-apple chardonnay with an up-front minerality that I thought was Californian - expensive and too much oak.

After we washed down the appetizers with the whites we switched to reds for the main course:

2004 Domaine Confuron-Cotetidot (Chambolle-Musigny)
2005 Philippe Alliet Coteau de Noire (Chinon)
2001 Joseph Swan Mancini Ranch Zinfandel (Russian River)

The Alliet Chinon was my favourite and easily identified...green pepper, damp undergrowth, flint and inky blackberry - dry woodsy tannins and crisp acidity on the palate, a long finish, YUM. The Domaine Confuron-Cotetidot had to be the least typical red Burgundy I have ever tasted - meaty walnuts and red berry fruit on the nose, but unbalanced on the palate with a sharp acidic frame and flavours of rusty nails - no one picked this as a pinot, much less Burgundy. The Swan Zin was tired, old, alcohol-y cooked fruit, I was thinking Nero d'Avola on this one (a term I occasionally use to describe an unidentified red wine I don't like...).

But Swan made it up to us, as we enjoyed a glass of the 2001 Joseph Swan Trenton Estate Syrah (Russian River) to finish the evening - meaty, dark berry fruit and cedary black pepper on the nose, blackberries wrapped in velvety tannins on the palate, a wine that is hitting its stride at 7 years old.

Sorry for the delay, Marcus - cheers!


Edward said...

Sounds like a fun night. Is that your hand writing? If so I think I'll have to bestow and honorary MD. . .

The Confuron-Cotetidot is a worry. I've got a few bottles of the 05 and I hope they don't taste like rusty nails!

Marcus said...

First of all, I didn't do the red flight since I wanted to focus on some Italian reds... but I always thought rusty nails something uniquely characteristic of pinot noir, no?

So now I'm a former blogger! This is shocking to read. But there's probably even more shock for the guy in the back of Bu you called an old lady -- I know, it's a compliment about food. He probably gets that all the time and is used to it.

I love that you got those notes.

Joe said...

Ed - yes, that is my hand writing...the placemats are paper, so I just rip my notes right off the table! My wife's a pharmacist so she was able to decipher the love letters...As for the Confuron-Cotetidot, the sommelier even came over and told us we'd never guess what it was as it was "very atypical" - I suspect it is rather tightly wound and needs to stretch out in the cellar, something to think about for your '05s.

Marcus, you are correct - you just HAD to be different, thus foiling my plan for a comprehensive group note! The rusty nails were not the reason the Confuron was atypical, there were NO Pinot Noir flavours anywhere. I have slightly edited the text to reflect that you still "blog" in another place, but the head chef is definitely a woman, a Mexican woman to be exact...