Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chateau le Boscq Cru Bourgeois Superior 2005/Haven's Merlot 2006

Sarah and I had our friends Katie and Stephen over for dinner last night, and opened several bottles. I made a Gigot de Sept Heures, or seven hour leg of lamb. This sounds way more impressive than it actually is. It's really simple, and amazingly good. Preheat your oven to 300. Slice up 2 onions, peel 4 carrots, slice 4 cloves of garlic, and peel 20 more cloves of garlic. Make a bouquet garni. Take a 6 pound leg of lamb. Rub it with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Take a paring knife and the sliced garlic and stick them all into the leg. Put the leg in the dutch oven. Add everything else around the lamb and add a cup of white wine. Put the lid on. You can "caulk" the dutch oven with dough by using one cup flour and one cup water. Bake for seven hours.  Now I made a couple of mistakes, which meant that this was a little dry. First, I did not use a bone-in piece of lamb (which is what I should have done), second, I did not use a big enough piece of lamb, which meant that it shouldn't have taken 7 hours(maybe 6?). Third, I have a really big Dutch oven and some of the vegetables scorched around the edges (I'm thinking probably because there was too much space), so I would also add some more wine. Anyways, very tasty, very easy. (Our friends from Oakland were in town too, and Sarah even let me leave the oven on whilst we were galavanting about in Venice with them for 3 hours.) Sarah made a Kugen from the French Laundry cookbook (she's made it a few times before)--awesome--although between the sauce and the cake itself, there are about 2 pounds of butter.

We drank this Bordeaux, which was quite nice. Picked it up at Costco a couple years ago for 20$. Mostly cabernet sauvignon. Sarah's first comment was that it was a "big" wine, and I mostly agree. Typical aromas of cedar, earth, plums, and an herbal edge. Drinking well, it could clearly age a couple more years, and will probably reveal more of itself. Good amount of acidity, and lots of fruit (a reflection of 2005 perhaps). Good balance of everything. Went awesome with the lamb--a great compliment, and very food friendly. B+ We also had a couple of bottles of the Chariot Gypsy (because Katie and Stephen are not into wine, really). Both of them really liked it. When asked how much they thought the bottle was, Stephen replied "30$," and Katie replied "18$." And that, my friends, is why people like the Gypsy. It's punching way above its' weight. They definitely did not think it was a 5$ bottle of wine--until I told them.

Next, we opened the Haven's merlot, which was getting blown out for 6.99$ at K&L. Normally, this wine would have been 20$ or something, which I have to say after drinking this, perhaps might be why he went out of business. At 20$, this is typical, boring, California wine, and not a good deal. At 7$, the equation is a little different. Cherry and tobacco nose. Once it gets in your mouth, this wine tastes over-extracted and has kind of a weird frame. This wine is like Heidi Montag from the Hills. She was just fine before she got all that plastic surgery. She tried way to hard to "look good," and now she looks like an alien. This wine has had some surgery too, despite what I'm sure was probably very nice fruit at the start. At 7$, this is interesting, but not terribly exciting. The Syrah was miles better. C-/C


CabFrancoPhile said...

Heidi Montag, lol! Sounds like this Merlot was a mess! I stayed away from the basic Napa appellation Havens wines during the liquidation since it seemed likely they were manipulated. Havens sold the winery in '05 or '06 to Billington, a corporation based in CT. Billington started meddling with the blending at some point ('05 Napa Merlot, for sure), causing Havens, who was supposed to keep working at his namesake winery, to quit as consulting winemaker. I figured the vineyard designated wines from Carneros were safer since there's less room for clueless management to mess 'em up.

Sorry for getting you sidetracked on the Havens wines. I really only meant to suggest trying the '05 or '06 Hudson Syrah (vineyard designated, cool Carneros climate, cooler vintage, made by Havens). Anything Billington touched is suspect. I think they ramped up production when they got into financial trouble, and ended up making plonk at the Napa level.

Jeff said...

Interesting. Thanks for the info. I didn't realize that the winery had been sold that early. There's a huge difference in style between the Syrah and this merlot, so I guess that makes a whole lot of sense why the merlot wasn't that good. It's crazy they thought they could sell it for 20$...I think 7$ is pushing it. I've got another bottle of it left (my neighbor bought a case for some reason?), which is definitely getting busted out with company.

CabFrancoPhile said...

Yeah, I paid $20 for the '05 Merlot. It was worth about $10, if that. The '04 Bourriquot, meanwhile, was a little hot and jammy from the absurdly hot '04 vintage despite having nice Franc and Merlot character. Since those two, though, every Havens wine I've had has rocked. They definitely sport a good bit of oak, but it is generally well-integrated and top quality.

Jeff said...

I really liked the Syrah, although there are certainly a lot of other Syrah's for around 25$ that I would be into as well. Do you know if he's going to continue making wine under another label or for someone else?

CabFrancoPhile said...

Havens is making Galician whites, apparently:

So Albarino? Godello? He made an Albarino at Havens before, so that wouldf make sense.

Tricerapops said...

just grabbed a bottle of the chariot, so interested in drinking that soon. i saw the fire sale on the havens stuff at K&L as well, but was too lazy to pull the trigger. good insight from CFP about the other wines/labels.

good work on the leg of lamb, great for crowds and slow cooking is such a low stress method of cooking. i always disregard 'caulking' instructions however, again - laziness be damned.