Thursday, July 23, 2009

Beaujolais at L'Express

L'Express is not a Montreal secret - smack dab in the middle of rue St-Denis, it is a Montreal icon, serving up exquisitely simple French Bistro fare. Glowing reviews are easy to find, yet in our 17 years here in Montreal my wife and I had never been. On her 40th Birthday I set out to make amends.

I will start out by simply saying that the food (the bone marrow appetizer was particularly notable) and service (wine served at the proper temperature) were wonderful and worthy of a repeat visit, but - as always - it was the wine I remembered best...

We decided on a glass of rose, which the waiter quickly poured from an open bottle of 2007 Colinot Bourgogne Rose. My good friend Cosme would cry knowing that red Burgundy grapes had been defiled and turned into a pink wine, but this was easily the best Rose I have had this season. Strawberries and green apples on the nose precede a smooth, deceptively simple palate that featured tangy green limes and a surprisingly long finish.

But Rose by the glass was just a start to the evening, ably whetting our palate for the main event. I commend the waiter for guiding me up the price list to a cheaper wine, and he promised great things from this 2006 Chateau Thivin Côte de Brouilly Cuvée La Chapelle. Wow.
Rosemary and earthy notes enveloped ancient leather, adding some gamey notes and berries, fresh off the vine. A palate of delicious, fresh, and vibrant raspberry fruit, great minerality and terrific balance, it evolved nicely and was poised to the finish. Probably not for aging, but very complex nonetheless. So much joy at this price point - I can't remember the last time I had wine at a resto for less than 50 bucks and truly immersed myself in it.
cork. 12.5% alcohol
Score: 17.5/20
Price: ~C$42 (menu)


TWG said...

Just curious about the markup between retail and restaurant prices. In Philadelphia it's about 4x PLCB retail in restaurants.

Joe said...

Hi TWG - it varies widely in Montreal, from two to 3.5x it would seem, although 3x seems the normal. Note that our starting prices are typically higher than yours - the Quebec taxman - but not always. I cannot recall ordering wine in a Philly resto except at the airport.

David McDuff said...

Colinot makes some very fine wines way up in Irancy (in the Yonne Department). He's one of the few remaining champions of the ancient vine of the area, César. I can't guarantee it, but it's certainly possible that the Bourgogne Rosé may have included some César in the mix along with Pinot Noir.

And Thivin definitely makes very nice Cru Beaujolais in a relatively fruity style. Very food friendly, for sure.

Joe said...

Hi David. Irancy? Very intriguing, I'm always looking for something new. But Cesar in Burgundy? Very rare, I assume? Any stats on that?