Thursday, January 25, 2007

called to the castle -- part two

Continued notes on the Le Clos Jordanne Pinot Noirs at the LCBO -- please see the first part of this posting below:

Ranging from $25 a bottle to $60 (which, again, I don’t manage to taste, though the bottle smells mighty fine), these new Canadian wines are a serious commitment for the average wine fancier. They are also seriously good wines, so viewed as an investment – one of those investments that will eventually turn to pee if used properly, keep in mind – you can’t lose.

The Village Reserve Pinot is the low end at $25. One of the other tasters in the room has a very convincing theory that this is the best buy simply because at the lowest price it is not significantly worse than the rest of the wines -- therefore bang for your buck, and all that. I agree, except that I like one of the $35 bottles (the Le Clos Jordan Vineyard Pinot) quite a bit better, and on a bottle for bottle (as opposed to case for case, at which point my colleague is way right) basis, I might choose to shell out the extra ten clams for what I would consider the more satisfying taste experience.

The Village Reserve is very pale but with a full earthy nose and good long structure. I think the key to all these wines is that they won’t tell you everything about themselves right off the top. You’ll pretty much need the entire glass (bottle?) to get to the bottom of the flavour profile, but if you like it you’ll know right away. I liked it.

My preference for the Clos Jordanne Vineyard is based on expression, more than on any particular fruit or flavour characteristic. There’s a bit more heat here; you breathe in slightly more alcohol off the top, I think, and it follows through with a dustier, firmer finish. All of these wines expertly blend earth and fruit, but this one is probably the earthier, or dirtier I’d say, with some mushroomy stuff near the end. It’s this dirtiness I’m attracted too, I think. If I’m going anywhere north of $15 for a wine, I want to feel like there’s more than just fruit juice in my glass.

This is also the reason I prefer the Clos Jordanne Vineyard to the Petite Vineyard Pinot (the 2nd of the $35 bottles). The Petite Vineyard is fruitier and less earthy, though it does have an attractive pepperiness up front. Same length, same fine dusty finish.

The final $35 bottle from Le Clos Jordanne, the Claystone Terrace Pinot distinguishes herself from her sisters with a subtle whiff of strawberries just under that first hit of forest floor. Really intriguing.

There are three Chardonnays on offer from this new winery as well (they make four, but the $35 Claystone Terrace Chardonnay was missing from the tasting). As with the reds, you’re not going to go wrong with any of these, and they range from a pricey-yet-worth-it $25 to an even-pricier-and-more-worth-it $55. The word that keeps hitting me with all of these wines is subtle. There’s a lot going on in the glass, yet it's not at all busy or confused. The Le Grand Clos Chardonnay ($55) has honey on the nose, but then is dry and balanced and moves your mouth through soft, shifting fruits to a refreshing finish.

Le Clos Jordanne is more a story than a wine right now. Everyone is waiting to see how they will market, how they will sell and what the wine world will have to say about Canada’s Burgundies. The general mood in the small white room at the LCBO suggests these first wines won’t be around long after they launch, so get yourself a taste of them any way you can.

No comments: