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Un Côtes de Francs franc de goût

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Bordeaux Côtes de Francs 2008, Château le Puy ($27.35, 00709469)
The estate makes several wines. This, the only one brought into Quebec, is the Emilien bottling, though that description appears nowhere on the front label. A blend of biodynamically and organically farmed Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carménère (85%, 14% and 1% respectively in typical vintages) from 50-year-old vines. The grapes are fully destemmed. Fermentation in open, temperature-controlled vats with indigenous yeasts and no chaptalization lasts two to four weeks. Matured 24 months, 60% of the time in large foudres and 40% of the time in third- to fifth-fill oak casks. Bottled unfiltered. 12.5% ABV. Also available in 500 ml bottles ($18.70, 00896399). Quebec agent: A.O.C. & cie Châteaux et Domaines.
Wafting nose of cassis and red fruit with faint herbs, spice and mushroom, a pianissimo floral note and, unlike some bottles, not a hint of barnyard. Medium-bodied and smooth textured. The bright fruit and supple tannins flow to the clean finish on a long stream of soft acidity. Less compelling than the 2005? If so, only a little. With all its elements integrated, this civilized, honest, eminently drinkable wine is approachable now but balanced and alive enough to continue developing for at least another five or maybe even ten years. Probably not the first choice for a grilled T-bone (look to Argentina for that), this would accompany braised meats, grilled veal chops or meat pies to perfection. It also made a synergistic match with za’atar hummus, picking up on the earthy, citrus and herb flavours in a most surprising way. (Buy again? Sure.)

Written by carswell

June 18, 2014 at 16:31

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