A couple of recent picks from the SAQ…
Château Coupe-Roses, “Les Plots” Minervois 2009 ($18.45 at SAQ)
A rustic red from the Minervois AOC in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France, made from a blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Carignan. The Languedoc-Roussillon is a great place for good value wines. In this one, you can really taste the herbal notes that are typical of this region. On the nose, there was lots of red fruit, herbs, and unusual spice. It reminded me of black cherry jam. On the palate, the fruit was rich and dark, with notes of blackcurrant, dates, licorice, and stewed plums that became almost like rum-like in flavour. Then there were those spicy herbaceous notes of thyme, black olives, and perhaps some of the Mediterranean scrub-land called “garrigue” that the Languedoc is known for. It was a bit tart, and there was a hint of bitterness on the finish. When I tasted it again two days later, I found lavender and even more spice and brambly, lush fruit. A rich, complex, full wine that may not be for everyone, but I really enjoyed it.
Pascal & Alain Lorieux, Chinon Expression 2007 ($18.25 at SAQ)
The Chinon AOC in the Touraine district of the Loire is well-known for its reds made from Cabernet Franc (also known as Cabernet Breton in that area). This one had a fairly typical Cabernet Franc nose when I first opened it: earthy aromas of green pepper, spicy tomato and underlying red fruit. When I tried it again a couple of days later, the nose had developed into a lovely earthy, cherry compote. Light on the initial attack in the mouth, it gets more persistent and then you feel those tannins. The acidity is high and fresh, and on the palate it has lots of green pepper, spice, and the same earthy notes found on the nose, as well as a light floral perfume, cherry, and redcurrant. The fruit is in the background, though, with the green notes and the tannins in focus. Give it some time to open up (decanting should soften it up) and the fruit will show through. It was much more mellow when tasted after the bottle had been open a couple of days. Those who prefer extremely fruity wine may not enjoy this, but if you like your vegetables too, give it a try. Personally I love Cabernet Franc when it’s done well.