This past weekend featured the Paris-Roubaix one day race - the bookend on the ultimate week of spring classic racing. It is tough to find grapes (or anything else) growing in this bleak North Western corner of France. This part of the country was essentially destroyed in WW I & II by bombing attacks. There is more than one reason Paris-Roubaix is known as The Hell of the North. The region is making a comeback, but slowly like a blown out racer trying his best to avoid getting swept up by the broom wagon.
Tom Boonen continued his hot streak by winning Paris-Roubaix after winning Flanders the previous weekend. If you like symmetry then you have go to love Boonen. This is the second time he has won these two Spring Classics in the same year.
Since this race begins in Paris, the city of lights, you can lay your hands on virtually any kind of wine or food you want. The city will not be denied its guilty pleasures. The Lucha Vino challenge features a French Bordeaux blend from the Right Bank (Merlot dominant) facing off against a Washington state Bordeaux style blend. Can this young upstart from Washington take down one of the elders of the red wine world?
2009 Desert Wind Ruah from Washington vs. 2008 Chateau Guibeau from the Right Bank
Let's get it on!!
Tale of the Tape
Desert Wind Ruah 2009 50 % Merlot, 34 % Cabernet Sauvignon,
13 % Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec, 1% Barbera sourced from the Desert Wind Estate Vineyard on Red Mountain.
Aged in American oak for 12 months
2008 Chateau Guibeau Puisseguin Saint-Emilion
Merlot 75% Cab Sauv 15% Cab Franc 10%
Aged for 12 months in 30% new French oak barrels.
Purchased from Garagiste for $13.99.
Round 1. First Opening
Desert Wind blows into the ring like a dry desert, uh, wind. This luchador is dry and not quite ready for prime time. The nose has raspberry and some dusty dark cherry. The palate is tart pie cherries with a tart cherry bark finish.
Chateau Guibeau appears to be equally reluctant to mix it up. The nose has some nice cherry cinnamon and spice notes. The palate shows light cherries and cedar spices that linger on to a tart cedar cherry finish.
Neither one of these Luchadors was ready to step into the ring. This was close on the judges cards, but the Guibeau was seen as the aggressor so took round 1.
Round 2. One hour after Opening
The crowd is anxious to see if these combatants have warmed up and are ready to grapple.
Desert Wind is showing a nose of dark currant, cherry and slightly earthy clove and cinnamon spice. The palate is dark cherry and cedar spices that linger on to a tart spiced finish.
The Guibeau is still slumbering with a nose of cedar tart cherry stems and a palate of tart pie cherries and a tart dry finish.
The Desert Wind has loosened up while the Guibeau seems to have lost interest. Desert Wind takes round 2 with little opposition from the French Challenger.
Round 3. One day after Opening
The match is all tied up at one round apiece. The winner is going to be the Luchador that steps up and takes command of this final round.
Desert Wind steps into the ring with authority and the crowd roars. The nose is showing dark cherry, cracked pepper and dusty leather. The palate is equally robust with dark cherry, dusty tart cedar spices and a spicy cracked pepper finish.
The Guibeau is getting low attempting to find its power, but not having much success. The nose shows cherries and melon with some herbal spices. The palate is cherries and tart Asian spices that lead to a dry finish.
The Washington Luchador took some time to get going, but in the end found the confidence and motivation to take control and win the match in the final round.
Wrap up and over all observations
Merlot dominated the blend for both of these Luchadors so I was very surprised at how tightly wound they were. Both of these Luchadors could benefit from a few more years of training (or laying low in the cellar).
I would rate both of these wines as an 85 with the potential to bulk up in the next 3 - 5 years.