Getting together with my buddy Eden is always great fun - Eden is a recovering Shiraz-oholic and a blank canvas upon which I can impose my views of the wine world. And he has a particular interest in 'a great value'.
Given his propensity for Shiraz and love of a great value I have over the years tried to guide him towards the South of France, like tonight's 2007 Hecht & Bannier Saint-Chinian (Shiraz, Grenache, Mourvedre). A delightfully wild -dare I say rustic - nose of leather and smoke, meaty black cherries, almonds and some vanilla notes add to the pleasure. A crisp, intriguing, medium bodied wine, pairing nicely with some grilled steaks. Score: 17/20, Price: C$22.95 (LCBO)
Spain is replete with value, but my taste buds were thinking "quality" so I also picked up a bottle of the 2005 Torres "Mas La Plana" Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine enjoyed many times in the past. Another hit tonight - a beautiful grenadine nose, with cedar and lots of violet. Elegant, sophisticated on the palate, incredibly smooth, silky tannins and a long, crisp, sour cherry finish. Wow. Score: 18/20, Price: C$44.95 (LCBO)
To round out this quirky flight I picked up a higher-end Argentinian wine, as Eden is well versed in the great values coming out of Argentina. The 2002 Alpha Crux from Mendoza's O. Fournier is an intriguing blend of Tempranillo, Malbec and Merlot. A powerfully meaty, gamey, nose - you could smell the tannins - allowing only glimpses of the delicate fruit underneath. Perhaps awkward is a better word, with dense grainy tannins tannins biting into the palate...such an incredibly long finish, and after a few hours still hinting at the greatness inside. I nabbed a few bottles to stick in the cellar, it will be very interesting to revisit this one in a few years. Score: 17.5++/20, Price: C$39.95 (LCBO)
Wow, what a night! I guess I need to open some Sassicaia to top that...(stay tuned)