Tuesday, October 27, 2009

2003 Reserve de la Comtesse Lalande, Pauillac

46% Merlot, 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the rest Cabernet Franc. About 35$; I've had it in my cellar for a couple of years or so. Admittedly, I am not much of a Bordeaux drinker--not that I dislike it--it's just that Bordeaux can get really expensive, really fast, and there is cheaper stuff that is just as exciting to me. This is the second wine of the second growth estate Pichon-Lalande--in other words, a cheaper, and less age intensive way--to sample the house style. (For more history on Pichon-Lalande, I highly recommend checking out the Wine Doctor's site.) 03 was a visciously hot vintage in most of Europe, so perhaps this wine is not typical of Pichon-Lalande? I would have to taste more Pichon-Lalande to figure that out...luckily, the Wine Doctor has, and concludes that for wines from the Left Bank, it's "not a vintage for those that enjoy typicité." Now that we've gotten that out of the way, this wine has a nose full of chocolate, plum and berry fruit, plus baking spices. It's a nice nose. Very similar flavors once it's actually in your mouth--lots of chocolate character in particular. Silky smooth, with not a lot of tannin. Still, it has obvious structure, and while a little hollow, it's delicious and suave. However, it's quite expensive relative to what I know that I can get from places other than Bordeaux. This is one of those semantics things--it's Bordeaux! It doesn't break the bank! It must be worth paying for! Sadly, I don't think that's always true...one only has to look to Argentina (and lots of other places too, for what it's worth) to find a wine that is less, but totally ass kicking. Maybe not quite as elegant, but give it six years, and it probably will be. C+/B- (The price is dragging it down)

Also--despite my initial reservations, I signed up for Twitter (just like the rest of the world, haha!). If you're so inclined, you can follow me (@vivalawino).


CabFrancoPhile said...

I tried a second wine from a top St. Emilion estate, 2002 vintage. It was not very exciting. I'd like to try some upper level Bdx at a sensible price. But any '05 and on is overpriced (as a non-investment, at least). Maybe the odd '04 will pop up since typicity is what I'm most interested in.

This one sounds rather Napa-style with the plum and chocolate. Perhaps a product of the hot (Parkerized, ha) '03 weather and oak regime?

Jeff said...

Yeah, the only difference between this and Napa was that the alcohol was in check and that this was quite a bit more elegant as a result. I think 13.5%...and that's doubly true since my girlfriend didn't like it that much so I drank close to the entire bottle. Anyways, kinda weird with the whole pricing thing. I wonder if in 100 years people will still covet Bordeaux in the same way? Perhaps we'll have a collective fascination with something else? Like Riesling from the Finger Lakes and Bordeaux will be chopped liver?

CabFrancoPhile said...

I'm just figuring the famous names will price themselves out of contention. Anything famous--Bdx, Burgundy, CdP, Barolo--will cost so much alternatives will be more attractive. The supply is fixed for a given producer, but demand only can grow. Technology and know-how being what it is, young regions should be able to compete once they find the right vineyards and get some older vines.

I'm also interested to see how climate change affects everything. Coastal areas in CA may get cooler due to increased heating in the central valley sucking in ocean air. Meanwhile Bdx may taste more like Paso Robles. I'd bet on the current cool-climate regions growing in popularity.

Jeff said...

Yeah, it's going to be interesting to watch what happens from global warming. Canada has a lot of wineries? Who knew. I wouldn't have thought they would be able to grow grapes there, but there is a lot now. Obviously Finger Lakes, but also in Western Canada. The guys over at cherriesandclay.com cover a lot of BC wine. It would be interesting to try some bottles, but there are very few that make it to California that I have seen. You probably have to track them down.

CabFrancoPhile said...

Hmmmm, Canada sounds like the NA equivalent of the Loire--but bigger. I wonder if they have any value Cab Franc up there. Washington is at about the same latitude as Bordeaux, IIRC. Either way, the CA industry kind of blocks the flow of CN and WA wines.