Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bodacious Bordeaux Highlighted

2009_1029beernwinecave0001 Bordeaux wines were at center stage during the wine tasting at the Beer & Wine Cave, 4400 Heatherdowns, on Thursday, October 29.
The tasting featured three white and four red Bordeaux plus a Bordeaux-type blend from Washington State.

Like most Old World countries, France doesn’t promote the name of the varietal on the label, like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. Instead it regulates the grapes used in each wine producing region (appellation). In Bordeaux, the whites are primarily Sauvignon Blanc and the reds are a blend of grapes, primarily Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon depending on the region.
Trust me, there’s beauty in those blends!

The tasting ($15 for a flight of eight) began with 2007 Chartron La Fleur,   which was much more sedate than the “in your face” Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and made a nice start to the evening.

This was our first visit to the Beer & Wine Cave and we enjoyed the atmosphere. There were several couples seated at stools around barrell/tables. Owner Matt Snyder, who formerly worked in the Andersons’ wine department, took time to enlighten the group on the background of Bordeaux and each wine. We also enjoyed learning about his recent trip to Washington and his visit with winemakers. He packs a very diverse wine selection into his shop – especially strong on boutique wines from the Northwest.

Domaine Sainte Anne was the second white, an organic Sauv Blanc with a bit more tang than the first.
The flight of whites ended with the Pezat Bordeaux Blanc Sec. This is a Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon blend with a unique dry finish and minerally taste. Our favorite of the whites and very reasonably priced at $16.99.
The reds began with Chateau Naujan Lapereyre Bordeaux Superieur. This apparently falls a notch below the other Bordeaux in terms of the French wine law rankings. However, it is a nice round wine that opened up very well.

The Chateau Longues Reges is an 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc blend with a puckery taste. The Lafite Rothschild is a merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon blend with delightful layers of light cherry.

Our favorite of the reds was the Chateau de Respide Graves a two-thirds Merlot, one-third Cabernet Sauvignon blend that hit all the right notes with elegance and complexity. All the Bordeaux are very affordable and this is no exception, being $24.99 for a wonderful wine.

By way of contract, Matt offered a 2007 Alexandria Nicole Gravity from the Destiny Ridge Vineyard in Horse Heaven Hills, Washington. Alexandria Nicole Cellars is devoted to producing small lot high quality wines. Gravity  is a blend of Merlot, Malbec and Carmenere that is truly beautiful. The flavor was markedly different than the Bordeaux with tastes of blackberry, blueberry and a slight oakiness. From anywhere in the area, this is worth a drive to pick up a bottle at only $23.99.

As a bonus (and in the Halloween spirit) we had a taste of Cabzilla. Apparently the label, which features a wine swilling Godzilla cartoon, had triggered lawsuits. The wine is made from secondary grapes, but has a monster-sized Cab taste.

Don’t be put off by the name – the Beer & Wine Cave does a great wine tasting (beer too) and offers a unique selection of fine wines.

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