Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Washington BDX Cab Blend v. Left Bank Bordeaux

The Tour de France wrapped up on Sunday with the traditional "parade" on to the Champs-Elysees.  The race for the overall victory is usually determined on the preceding Saturday's stage.  This year, it seems, that the overall victory was decided on stage 7 when Bradley Wiggins took over the yellow jersey.  His Team Sky executed with so much precision and determination it left the other teams in the race wondering what hit them.

So, with the race pretty much "in the bag" could you blame any of the racers for daydreaming about a side trip to Bordeaux when the race reached the finishing town for stage 18 in Brive-la-Gaillarde?  The wine would have been tempting especially considering the 200+ mile bus ride they all had to take to Bonneval for the stage 19 Individual Time Trial.  

In honor of the daydreamers, this week's challenge features a Washington Bordeaux style blend taking on a Left Bank Bordeaux from an Old School producer.

2008 Soos Creek Champoux v. 2009 Lafite Baron's de Rothschild Reserve Speciale Medoc

Tale of the Tape

2008 Soos Creek Champoux

77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Cabernet Franc, and 6% Merlot all from the Champoux vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA

Purchased from Full Pull Wines for $31.49.

2009 Lafite Baron's de Rothschild Collection Medoc Reserve Speciale

70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot from the Medoc

Aged for 3 - 9 months in 20% new oak barrels.

Purchased from Esquin for $25.99.

Round 1. First opening

The Soos Creek Champoux is ready and raring to go.  Wasting little time and taking the fight straight at the old school Luchador from Bordeaux.  The Soos Creek is showing a nose of red berries, toasted oats and candle wax.  The palate is featuring rich red berries, dark cherries, licorice, clove and menthol that lingers on to the slightly tart spice filled finish. 

Lafite doesn't seem to be taking this New World challenger too seriously.  Getting off to a slow start the Baron has a dark brooding nose of dark berries, cherries, toast and roasted meat with a hint of pepper.  The palate is primarily pie cherry with a tart cedar finish.

The Soos Creek is much more active and lively in the first round taking the first point of the match.

Round 2. One hour after opening

The Soos Creek Luchador is building confidence and spicy swagger.  The nose has character of dark cherry, licorice and dusty semisweet chocolate.  The palate features dark cherry and tart cocoa mixed with notes of coffee bean along with clove and menthol cedar spices that flow on to the finish.

The Baron's corner is trying to stir this mighty giant into action.  Their exhortations seem to be in vain.  The Baron is showing a nose of dark cherry and roasted meats.  The palate features cherries and tart cedar that resolves to the finish.

If the Baron can get its hands on the sprightly Soos Creek Luchador it could mean trouble.  This giant Bordeaux Luchador is packing some damaging dark power.  So far, Soos Creek is using speed and quickness to its advantage taking another round and going up 2-0 on the Baron.

Round 3. One day after opening

This is the last chance for the Baron from Bordeaux.  Can the French Luchador land a devasting knock out punch to the Soos Creek Luchador?  A single body slam from this giant could be enough to end the match in a hurry.

The Soos Creek is clearly aware of the potential disaster that could result from standing still.  Bobbing and weaving this Washington State Luchador is remaining elusive.  The nose is featuring black cherry, licorice and clove spices with hints of wintergreen & coconut.  The palate is big and lush with black cherry, spices, coconut and semisweet chocolate that lingers to the finish along with a bit of eucolyotus.

The Baron is beginning to come alive.  The nose is showing dark cherries, earthy spices and light toast.  The palate is getting spicy with black cherry, all spice and a nice slightly cedar spice tart finish.

Sadly for the Baron, it was too little too late.  Soos Creek takes the final round and the match 3-0.

Wrap up and overall observations.

This match was a study in two different styles.

The Washington Luchador featured plenty of spices, cocoa and lush dark fruit.  Characteristics that seem to be the calling card of many Horse Heaven Hills grapes.  The Champoux fruit definitely proves that this is one of Washington state's top notch vineyards.  Of course, you still need some skill to take quality ingredients and build them into a quality product.  Dave Larson's (the Soos Creek winemaker) skills show through in this fine Bordeaux style blend.

The Baron from Bordeaux was slow to get going.  Brooding and dark on day one.  Then beginning to lighten up a bit on day two.  This wine seems to support the belief that Old World wines need some time to rest in the cellar before enjoying.  This wine was good now, but I could see it being even better in the future.

I give the Soos Creek a solid 90 and the Lafite an 87.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Washington Rose v. Provence

This week the Tour de France route continued South and then took a right turn as the racers brushed by Provence and traced through the Rhone.  There has been plenty of action through le Alpes and then on to some "flatter" stages that still included some leg breaking climbs.  Bradley Wiggins is leading the Tour and his Team Sky domestiques have been controlling the race for the past week.  There are many conclusions after the first two weeks of racing and many believe that Wiggins will wear the Yellow Jersey onto the streets of the Champs-Elysees.

It is summer time and Provence is a region well known for Rose' wines.  The Lucha Vino challenge for this week features a Rose' Rumble.

2011 Tranche Cellars Pink Pape v. 2011 Aix en Provence Rose'

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Washington Riesling v. Alsace

This year the first leg of le Tour visited the Alsace wine region in North Eastern france.  This region primarily grows grapes that are also found in Germany and Switzerland due to the proximity.

The racers finish stage 7 on La Planche Des Belles Filles. A Mountain top finish that has never been visited by the tour in its 99 year history.  Team Sky dropped a serious bomb on this stage doing a fine imitation of an Atomic Drop.

To honor the tour boldly going where it has not gone before, the Luchavino challenge features a pair of Rieslings facing off in the ring.  The first time this grape variety has appeared in a match.

Washington Riesling has been garnering quite a bit of attention lately.  Let's see how it fairs against this Old World challenger from Alsace.

Nefarious 2011 Stone's Throw Vineyard Riesling v. Trimbach 2007 Riesling.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Washington Cabernet Franc v. Bordeaux

This Saturday was the Grand Depart for the Tour de France.  This year starts with the traditional prologue, a short intense individual time trial.  Many people call the time trial the "race of truth."  It is the rider versus the clock with nowhere to hide.  Your result is all on you, no help from your teammates, no hiding in the peleton out of the wind waiting to pounce at the last moment.  It is you, and only you, against the sands of time.

The racing begins in Belgium this year and does not land on French roads until Stage 3 on Tuesday.  The Lucha Vino challenge will feature a Cab Franc battle while we wait for the riders to hit France.  Cabernet Franc is a great compliment to the short, intense, all out effort that will be required to win the prologue in Liege.

2008 Hard Row to Hoe Burning Desire Cabernet Franc v. 2010 Ch. Le Pre de La Lande Grand Vin