Since I've been called up this weekend to taste in the big leagues with the Caveman, aka Bill Zacharkiw, newly installed Montreal Gazette wine columnist, I've decided it's time I do some red wine reviews and kick things up to high gear.
I'm not sure this post quite hits that gear. It's a tasting of polymerized spider gland secretion, with some Loire Cabernet wine mixed in.
Spiders? And caves? It's Hallowe'en all the sudden. If you're scratching your head at this point, check yesterday's post while I talk about Caveman Bill some more...
Bill writes The Caveman's Wine Blog, though between being the head sommelier at Relais-Château L'Eau à la Bouche and running Restaurant Fonduementale, it's his Gazette column that sees most of his wine writing these days.
Bill has so much knowledge of privately imported wine in Quebec, he's like his own version of the SAQ, the state-run agency in charge of selling all wine in the province.
Bill isn't fond of industrially produced international varietals; he's keen on organic, biodynamic wines from independent producers who have a real sense of place. My buddy Brooklynguy will especially appreciate his recent take on Beaujolais:
"I am a fanatic for Fleurie, and have yet to find one at the SAQ that cuts it. In the coming months, the Morgon and Fleurie from Domaine Vissoux will be available at the SAQ, and a couple of others."Needless to say, I'm fully chuffed to meet this guy. And while Bill is an amazing supporter of fine whites and says that when given the chance he would choose to spend more money on a bottle of white wine rather than red, I wanted to get out of my summer rut of white wine reviews with this post.
The fact is that I haven't made any substantial tasting notes on red wine since the months of April and May when I was preparing to host WBW 33, and since then I haven't done much of anything.
Well, my intent was good but my execution was not. As I displayed yesterday, my tasting notes for today's bottle are potentially affected by tainted wine glasses that had near-invisible layers of cobweb across the top of the bowl.
I won't be surprised if I am turfed out of the Caveman tasting, however for sake of the exercise, I'm still publishing my notes in full! So here they are...
Cave de Saumur Lieu-dit Les Vignoles Saumur Champigny 2004
Vintages #: 662585 (Joe will like to know that this is another Ontario-bought bottle)
Sugar Content: D (Who measures sugar content but the LCBO?)
Release Date: Mar 31, 2007
Description: Created in 2002, Alliance Loire includes seven Loire valley cooperatives like Cave de Saumur and comprise 700 vignerons and 3,600 hectares of vines. Of particular interest is their range of wines called Lieu-dit. Each wine in this category comes from a single vineyard, the characteristics of which are noted on the bottle label. Lieu-dit Les Vignoles Saumur Champigny, a red made from Cabernet Franc, is a particularly good example. [Paraphased excerpt from Jacqueline Friedrich's The Wines of France, 2006]
MY TASTING NOTES
Eyes: This unfiltered wine throws lots of sediment as my photo of the empty bottle demonstrates. The wine colour is a luscious dark ruby to purple.
Nose: An interesting animal nose (perhaps due to the spider) with plenty of grenadine. Gravelly tannins, vegetal green pepper profile typical to this genre.
Mouth: Leafy and dry. Nice weight on the palate though not complex. A surprising meatiness and fattiness makes this wine edgier than most Cabernet Franc I've tasted from Saumur.
Stomach: This is a really drying red dinner wine with a neat finish, perfect as a table wine. I had it with leg of lamb and vegetable couscous.
On the bottle label: "Le terroir de calcaire sableux lui apporte rondeur et richesse."
St-Cyr en Bourg, Maine & Loire, France. 13%.