Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Washington Malbec v. France

This week is the lead in to the Giro d' Italia which starts on Saturday.  We have a smaller 5 day race known as the Four Days of Dunkirk happening in Northern France at the beginning of the week and that is how I chose this week's luchadors.  Why is a 5 day race known as the Four Days of Dunkirk?  Good question.  I hear the race organizer is not very good at math.  Now on to the match.

Washington State Malbec v. France Loire Valley Cot

2008 Tildio Columbia Valley Malbec v. 2007 Domaine Ricard Touraine Le Vilain P'tit Rouge 

Tale of the tape

2007 Domaine Ricard

From the Touraine AOC in the Loire Valley of France.  90% Cot and 10% Cabernet Franc
Purchased for $11.99 from Garagiste.

2008 Tildio Columbia Valley Malbec
Mysterious, the winery's website is not displaying any details about the 2008 Malbec.
Purchased for $21 through the Tildio Wine Club.

Round 1.  First Opening:

The Domaine Ricard is showing some bright dark berry with a bit of leather and must on the nose with a slightly chewy tannin dark fruit body that leads to an acidic tart cedar finish.

The Tildio is demonstrating a nose of black cherry. logan berry. currant, some creamy spice and a bit of peat bog and smoke.  The palate is dark currant and a slightly dry acidic finish that blows off pretty quickly with air.

Stepping into the ring the Tildio is already threatening to dominate the competition.  Tildio is big and round.  Our French Luchador appears to be very uptight.  Perphaps there will be more to the Domaine Ricard in the later rounds.  In round one it is Pretty small and slightly frail.

Round 1 goes to Tildio.

Round 2.  One hour after Opening:

The Domaine Ricard has a nose of dark fruit, sour mineral and a bit of leather with similarly tart palate that is still pretty tight with some interesting notes of grapefruit on the palate and finish.

The Tildio has a nose of currant and cedar spice with some semi sweet chocolate.  The palate is black cherry, bitter cocoa and a tart cedar finish with some vanilla and light caramel.

The Domaine Ricard is still cowering not showing much depth of character.  The Tildio is building toward something that hints at a total body slam in the third round.  Let's see what happens.

Round 2 goes to Tildio.

Round 3. One day later

The Domaine Ricard has turned away from the challenge.  The nose is red fruit with some berry and floral notes.  The palate is watery red berry and tart current with the strange grapefruit character showing on the palate and finish.

The Tildio is still building, stepping into the ring flexing its muscles, with a nose of rich dark currant, some spice and cocoa.  The palate is similar with current and hints of cocoa

Round 3 goes to Tildio.

Wrap up and over all observations

This match was totally dominated by the Tildio Malbec from the Columbia Valley in Washington state.  The Domaine Ricard never opened up.  It remained small and really seemed to be intimated by the larger Luchador from Washington.

To be fair to our French contestant, this might have just been an off day (or off bottle).  My tasting notes from a previous bottle showed very different character.  Prior notes: Nose of blueberry, raspberry and currant with undertones of smoke, peat and hints of pepper.  The palate is dark red fruit accented by cedar and leather that leads to a long finish.

On this day, I would rate the Domaine Ricard an 84 and the Tildio an 87.

Oh well, C'est la vie...

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