Thursday, August 13, 2009

New vs Old World Wine...BATTLE!

Tasting anything blind is always the way to do it. Removing all preconceived notions from your fact filled little brain lets you simply taste and enjoy. Try it. Close your eyes when you eat something, you will focus on just that one sense and enjoy it 10 times more. A blindfolded dinner may be a bit messy, though, just make sure someone handsome is feeding you the food.

Our lovely hostess, Kathleen, handpicked accessible new & old world wines in similar price ranges for our pleasure to puzzle over. I will profess two facts right off the bat; you can buy all of these at the liquor store(Signature BCLC)and they are all fabulous wines, especially for the price.

Our Bounty (all dry)...

1. France, Sancerre (sauv.blanc): 2007 Chateau de Sancerre $28
2. New Zealand, Marlbourough (sauv. blanc) : 2008 Oyster Bay $20

3. USA, Oregon (Pinot Noir): 2007 Erath $33
4. France, Cote de Beaune (Pinot Noir): 2006 Joseph Drouhin $36

5. France, Crozes-Hermitage(syrah,mouv,gren): 2006 Domaine des Grands Chemins $27
6. Australia, Bsrossa (syrah,mouv,grennache): 2006 Penfolds Bin 138 $35

7. France, St Emilion (merlot) : 2006 Ch√Ęteau Vielle Tour la Rose $27
8. USA, Sonoma (cab): 2005 Rodney Strong $25

In this battle to the death, all opponents circled and punched, but no single 'contenda' got a knock out in. My hero was the Cote de Beaune, unfortunately the most expensive of the bunch (I hate it when that happens), still a $36 Burgundy is a hands down victory regardless.

Tasting notes:
1. Chateau de Sancerre - I love a good Sancerre, usually, it has a standout minerality and great acidity that makes you want to drink it all night. This one was a bit too acidic for my taste, though others loved it with the Comte. A delicate nose of roses, grapefruit and apple followed by a many sour apples, lemons and a few stones.
Result: Good Quality light wine, needs food. K.O.ed by Oyster Bay

2. Oyster Bay - New Zealand always kicks ass, especially this producer. This one, she came out fighting, throwing flinty daggers and green apples on the nose. A solid, but not overpowering acidity on the palette mingled with a strong minerality and again with the apple.
Result: Classic NZ, sauvignon blanc, amazing value. Drink it often... with food or without.

3. Erath - At the International Wine Festival in Vancouver 2009, the theme was pinot(s). France, New Zealand, BC, California & Oregon were all out in fine form, but Erath won my heart then. And it continues to be a long love affair. This ruby nectar greets you with a smoky, cherry pie, caramel kiss. Complexity follows through with length into the palette; graphite, white pepper, sour berries and notably light tannins.
Result: Classic, youthful Oregon Pinot Noir at it's most affordable. Drink it by itself to appreciate it fully.

4. Joseph Drouhin - Close your eyes, and a sweet, present bouquet of tobacco entices you with just a slight note of mint or something mysterious. This young Frenchman comes out swinging with an oaken staff. A palette of ash, lemon and supple cherries hits your tongue. Greenish medium tannins, high acid and 13.5% alcohol makes you want to see him grow a bit older to be a prize fighter.
Result: Ready to drink... lots of. My winner of the night, good with or without food. By two+ and age for a few.

5. Hermitage - If you are looking for good value, French wines, look no further than this region in the south east of France known for it's stunning Syrah. This wine grounds himself solidly on an earthen, pepper nose with notes of plum. Intense crab apple, cedar and lemon rind present themselves in a base structure of green medium tannins, high acid, medium body and low alcohol. Recipe for a heavy hitter.
Result: Great value, drink now or hold for a few.

6. Penfolds - Aussie magic threw it's considerable weight around vs our French Fighter, Hermitage. 20 rounds and no decisive winner, they decided to be friends instead, we were very happy. This Penfolds definitely learned all it's moves from the French anyway. With old world flair and complexity, it greets us with almonds, plasticine(in a good way), and a heady, tantalizing perfume of sweet blackberries. Heavier on the tannins and alcohol than it's French opponent, it lingers in the mouth with cherries, cloves, lemon and slight vanilla.
Result: Good acidity as well, let this one sit if you have the willpower, try in 5 years and longer.

7. St.Emilion - This last fight was like karate vs sumo wrestling. France is our karate master, and he's got a million subtle moves to dazzle you with. A bouquet of flowers, cloves and plasticine(but in a good way!) leads way to a mouthful of red currant, clove, bitters and light pepper. Green med+ tannins, high acid, 14% booze, medium body provides great bones. This is a classic, old world merlot that would open up to greatness with a 5 year sit in the cellar. And look at the price! You will not find a better value Bordeaux in BC! Don't buy any though, cause I want it ALL.
Result: Ager, though easily worth a taste now to see if I'm right or on crack.

8. Rodney Srong - Here is our sumo wrestler, less subtle, definitely from the new world, killer party pleaser. Who doesn't love a sumo wrestler! He's distinctive with big aromas of roses, strawberry icing, butter, cinnamon, popcorn. Take a swig and you'll find round, full flavours of cloves, lemons and blackberries.
Result: Great structure, but you won't be able to resist drinking it right away, so don't even try.

1 comment:

  1. Great tasting notes - I actually hosted a tasting last year comparing nearly the same regions, and the new world wines were definitely a hit.