2016 Château La Pirouette “Cru Bourgeois” Médoc, Bordeaux, France (Alcohol 13%, Residual Sugar 2g/L) LCBO Vintages $23.95 (750ml bottle)
Getting a sample bottle of this modest Bordeaux and giving it a little taste with a friend was one of my most pleasant surprises of the summer of 2019.
Ever since visiting Bordeaux for the the first time back in the late 90s, I was always dismayed at the lack of decent affordable red Bordeaux available to us in Canada, indeed even back in the UK I had always carried a drinkable Claret by-the-glass but this had always seemed nigh-on-impossible as a Sommelier back in the fettered Toronto wine market.
Upon tasting this 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot Cru Bourgeois-level blend I was immediately taken back to that time in the distant past where Claret was something I enjoyed once or twice a week, and trust me, I certainly didn’t have a great deal of money to my name some 25 to 30 years ago! The stuff was simply well within my budget, and whilst not being incredibly complex, offered a really solid expression of Bordeaux red. Which brings me to this wine…
This small Médoc winery has been family owned and operated for two generations and dates back to only 1976, however the winery’s relative youth belies some serious gifted winemaking and viticultural smarts courtesy of Michèle Roux, who works some admirable wonders with her 33 acres of 28 year old vines.
On both the nose and palate one would peg this wine as being priced far higher than the pocketbook-friendly $23.95 that it will be listed for at the LCBO upon its release on the 31st of August. There’s loads of classic blackberry fruit alongside some enticing wood spice (12 months in 1/4 new French barrels) and herbal notes. While the tannins are certainly there (and lovingly make themselves apparent), they are by no means aggressive and come off as particularly polished, giving the ripe black fruit core more than sufficient structure to fill out the mid-palate that can so often be lacking in Bordeaux at this price point. The finish continues with the dark fruit and has just a touch of graphite mineral to round off the medium-weight palate. Really very good indeed… especially at this price.
Undoubtedly a food wine, this medium-bodied Bordeaux is quite versatile when pairing, but I happened to really enjoy it with a classic grilled bavette steak, chunky fries, and good company.
Château La Pirouette are represented in Ontario by Noble Estates.
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Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he’ll be picking up a fair bit of that