Sunday, March 7, 2010

Chateau Laroque Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2000 & 2005

I picked up both of these wines at Costco for 25$ each. Not really sure why they were both there--I would imagine that someone wanted to get rid of some inventory or something. They're gone now--I only saw them one time. Anyways, I thought it would be interesting to have the two of them side by side. That's what we did last night. Sarah's parents are here, and while Sarah and her Mom got their eyebrows done in Beverly Hills, Sarah's Dad and I went to the Beverly Hills Cheese store, which fucking rules. You might pay less for cheese elsewhere, but they probably don't have the selection or the quality. We chose 4 cheeses--a really salty farmhouse taleggio, a hard goat's milk cheese from the French Basque region, a Hempkase (there's an umlaut in there somewhere's) cheese with Hemp seeds from Switzerland, and our favorite, a Basajo Sheep's milk blue cheese from the Veneto, aged in passito malvasia grapes. (Seriously, the Basajo is out of this world good--fruity, super stinky, and creamy.) We also picked up some saucisson sec and some wild boar salame. This whole board we created, along with some bread from Le Pain Quotidien, was arguably a landmine for wine. What was going to go with taleggio probably wasn't going to go with the blue cheese and vice versa. (As an aside, wine/cheese pairing successfully is what I would call a "difficult task," fraught with peril.) Anyways, thank god that I made a rack of lamb (I know, I know, I'm really boring--it's just so easy and good), along with some broccoli rabe that had a lot of garlic and chili. Onto the wine...

The 00 was obviously a little bit older and was more reserved than the 05. It had aromas of earth, pipe tobacco, iron, and cherry fruit, backed by a fleshy (although not tannic) frame and mouthfeel. In contrast, the 05 was way more tannic, as well as fruity, and took a couple of hours to mellow out. It was leaning a little more towards the blackberry side of things, and also had an earthy, iron streak. This was a fun exercise, although neither Sarah or myself were blown away with the wines, even though they are both solid. It would be interesting to follow the evolution of the 05 to see if it eventually becomes more like the 00 in terms of mouthfeel, texture, and secondary aromas. If I had to pick one of these wines (and there are really only subtle differences for the most part), at this point, I prefer the 00. It's a more complete package, and it's a satisfying wine to drink--a good middle ground of fruit and secondary characteristics, and good balance. I give it the slight edge. However, Sarah's parents liked the 05 more, I'm guessing because it was fruitier and a little bit more in your face. For me, 00 B, 05 B-.

Lastly, for lunch yesterday before our eyebrow and cheese escapade, we went to Pizzeria Mozza and ate a bunch of stuff--poached baby artichokes with ricotta crostini, romanesque broccoli with vinegar and chile, white anchovy, tomato, and chili pizza, taleggio with mushroom pizza, and the meatlover's pizza. We also shared some gelati--olive oil (awesome), greek yogurt (different and tangy--delicious), and stracciatella (which is Sarah's favorite). Mozza is quite good--every time I go there, I am impressed. And all four of us ate there for 100$. A bargain.  

7 comments:

Tricerapops said...

i hear you on wine/cheese pairing - i don't even bother putting much thought into it any more, and go with what's around and things haven't really gone completely awry. salted/cured meats and wine however - good stuff.

i haven't done any scientific tracking of all of your reviews, but i would say that you normally don't drink too much by way of bordeaux, right? in any case, i think i need to start going to your Costco - the one near me sucks w/r/t wine selection.

Jeff said...

Definitely agree with the salty cured meats thing. Don't drink lots of Bordeaux, mainly because it's expensive. I'd love to drink more, but there are so many wines that are less expensive. Take Chinon, for instance: Joguet is about 45$, and it's more or less the equivalent of a first growth. Of course, the first growth is like, 550$. I'm going to take Joguet every day...unless someone else is paying or I suddenly become obnoxiously wealthy.

CabFrancoPhile said...

Saw the '05 Laroque at my local Costco. '00 would have tempted me at $25. Paying a premium for young Bordeaux that require age to get interesting or drinkable just isn't a draw for me.

Jeff said...

Yeah, the only reason that I picked them up is that they were both there. I wouldn't have picked up the 05 in a void. Actually, I don't know if your Costco has it, but the Chateau Labegorce may be pretty interesting. I've had a 97 and a 99, and both were pretty good for around 20$. What's interesting is the 05 is 35ish dollars, and it was 50$ when it first came on the market. Probably because that's a relatively expensive bottle for most people and there is a lot of cheap Bordeaux out there right now.

CabFrancoPhile said...

Yep, seen Labegorce too. Too rich for my blood. I'd love to find 'typical' vintages at decent prices, but the Bordeaux price structure is unreasonable.

Jeff said...

Well, that's the reason that I've held off. You can get a lot of awesome things for 35$...and an okay, too young and not too thrilling Bordeaux is too rich for my blood too. K&L always has a few aged Bordeaux's that are in that price point anyways...and those are more interesting. I just looked and they still have the 99 Labegorce for 37$, or a few other things from the earlier part of the last decade for less.

Tricerapops said...

i've had some bad luck with the bargain bdx's (with age) over at KL. picked up a few bottles of 1997 Langoa-Barton - they had them for $40 - and they were uninspired. i think 97 wasn't that great of a year, and likely there was a glut over at the chateau. k&l is usually on point, and they can get a few good bottles in via direct imports, but i think i've gotten to that point where i'd rather put the money elsewhere with other regions/varietals