Monday, October 13, 2008

Canadian Thanksgiving, Canadian Pinot: Le Clos Jordanne

It is no secret that I love to pair turkey with pinot noir (1234), and this year's Thanksgiving dinner continued that tradition. But I abandoned the foreign bottlings today for homemade Canadian wine to celebrate this Canadian holiday. Readers know that this is not home-town boosterism, as I rarely write about Canadian wines, but with the hype around this winery I had to taste.

Le Clos Jordanne is a partnership between two wine giants, Canada's Vincor (acquired by Constellation in 2006) and Burgundy's Boisset, that sought to express a Niagara terroir in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It opened with much fanfare, even talk of an impressive winery designed by Frank Gehry, but those plans seem to have fallen by the wayside after Vincor's acquisition by Constellation. Aside from the buzz around the winery, the wines have also generated a lot of buzz, with the media (mostly local) heaping praise on the early vintages.

Stylistically the 2004 Le Clos Jordanne "Claystone Terrace" was more in tune with my Pinot preferences. A nose of leather, grenadine, fried meat and cooked fruit - a spicy palate with crisp acidity and fine balance, some minerality. A more focused and flavourful effort with substantial length, but lacking in complexity, drink now.
cork, 14.8% alcohol
Score: 16.5/20
Price: C$39.75 (SAQ)

The 2004 Le Clos Jordanne "Clos Jordanne Vineyard" enjoyable, and even a touch more complex on the nose, but less structured than the Claystone. Plum and floral notes on the nose, musk, cloves and pipe tobacco as well. Smooth and enjoyable with leathery cherries, but with minimal tannin or acid to hold it all together. Drink now.
cork, 14.6% alcohol
Score: 16.5/20
Price: C$42.25 (SAQ)

Overall, these were pretty good offerings, with the Claystone seeming more Cote de Beaune and the Clos Jordanne mimicking the Cote de Nuits. These are serious prices, and I could find some better, more structured, Burgundies at those prices, but Cam did note that these were potentially more "drinkable", hence the glowing reviews.

(Surprisingly, the insanely high alcohol was not that noticeable, a common gripe on this site)

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