Sunday, July 02, 2006

Exotica


I have my buddy (Captain) Carlo to thank for a most satisfying wine tasting session last night. The teaser leading up to this session was one of Gerard Depardieu's wines, a morrocan effort called "La Lumiere" which we had absorbed in February this year at Whistler. The choice had been an inspired one by Joel, this wine which he had chosen became the champion of the week (so said Carlo). So, he valiantly but ultimately unsuccessfully hunted it down in Quebec - alas, it was nowhere to be found. You may think this tale ends in a negative fashion, but no, happily he found another of Depardieu's efforts, this one from the latter's french vineyard in the Cotes du Blaye. This is a satellite appelation of bordeaux, usually producing "OK" kind of wines, sometimes fabricating more memorable efforts. Now, Carlo, like a good boy, held onto this wine for months so that I could have a sniff...and for this I am indebted. The Depardieu, Confiance, 2003 is the best wine I have drunk this year. The label states that only 3 bunches from each vine is harvested for the wine (? by Gerard himself), and the wine was aged in new oak for 20 months. I like these kind of statements if the wine backs up the talk. This one does - it is black, impenentrable in the glass with absolutely gorgeous vanilla scented berry aromas. A true blockbuster on the palate, young but decadently enjoyable. Interestingly enough, it is a blend of Merlot and Malbec. The rating: WOW. Value: for $54 you get every cents worth. Puts most of it's higher pedigree neighbours to shame - save your money, leave Chateau "Over-rated" on the shelf and pick up some confiance!
At this point I would like to apologize to everyone else at the tasting coz I shamelessly scarfed two whole glasses of this nectar.
There were two other notable wines served, one was Les Coteaux de L'Atlas, Celliers des Mekenes, 1998 from Morocco (presumably close to the Atlas mountains). This one was old world style, mature, not a sipper but shone with food. Unfortunately, it was poured after the confiance and couldn't compete on equal footing. The other was Montgras, Ninquen, 2003, a blend of cabernet sauvignon and malbec from chile. This was a heavy hitter also, oaky but plush, full bodied and very enjoyable. The fruit/wood blend was spot on. Would normally have been the star of the night, and still rates a "wow", but was clearly number two on the evening. Sorry, can't give a value rating, don't know how much it cost.
Cheers!!

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