Remember when I asked you to pick which wine I should drink?
Fine then! Go here to refresh your memory.
One of the wines I featured was this guy…
At the end of the post, this guy (the winemaker for Chateau Ballan-Larquette) asked me to let him know what I thought about it.
The other day at BevMo, I was checking out the wines for the 5 Cent Sale (again… a total scam), and I found that they had the 2007 and 2009 vintages of the exact same wine I already had. I decided right then that I had to purchase those other vintages and do a vertical tasting.
The problem is, 3 bottles of wine is just too much for one man to drink alone (1 bottle is too much). So I needed to make an event out of it.
That’s where the Thevegetarians come in.
Dave Thevegetarian has been my best friend ever since we were in third grade. Third grade, man! If you want to figure out how long we’ve been friends, take the age that you are supposed to be when you’re in third grade (I’m too lazy to ask my Kara. She teaches third grade.) and subtract that from 33. That’s about how many years we’ve known each other, or something.
Dave and his wife, Kara Thevegetarian, both happen to be vegetarians, coincidentally. They love throwing dinner parties. I would invite the Thevegetarians over for dinner at my house more often, but I doubt they would eat my Blue Cheese Burgers. They had us over for dinner last Friday.
“You bring the wine,” Dave told me, “and I’ll make some dope food for you, home boy.” In spite of Dave Thevegetarian’s odd choice of words, I pulled my three bottles from the old wine fridge along with a little bubbly, grabbed Kara by the hand, and headed over to the House of Thevegetarian.
“It’s on!” I shouted.
“Oh brother!” Kara responded.
We arrived at 6:30 pm to a table loaded with vegetarian hors d’oeuvres and a cork screw. I opened up the three bottles of Chateau Ballan-Larquette and arranged them thusly…
While waiting for the wine to breathe a little, Kara Thevegetarian poured us each a glass of this…
I’ve always been a fan of Clos La Chance. So much so, that KaraIsRad and I were married there.
The Clos La Chance 2009 Central Coast Sauvignon Blanc is a grassy lemon/lime machine. The perfect aperitif on a hot summer day. I’m not giving you a score for this one, ’cause I didn’t take any notes on it. Let me just say that I recommend it.
On to the vertical tasting…
The Cateau Ballan-Larquette is a “value” Bordeaux. The list price for this one is $19.99. At BevMo, you will pay that much for it during the 5 Cent Sale, but when it’s not on “sale” you should be able to get it for about 15 bucks. This wine is 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc. It spends 12 to 18 months in steel and cement tanks.
Color: Ruby red with a little rust.
Nose: Chalk (I love chalk), Cola, Green Bell Pepper.
Taste: This wine is GREEN! Bell peppers for days! There is also a spicy black pepper component. Good acidity. There is a little bit of bacon fat in this one which really brings the whole thing together.
Score: A solid 88. Solid!
How about some food?
Color: Same ruby color as the first. Maybe a little darker.
Nose: Bright Cherry. A little wood shop action too (Strange, since to my knowledge this wine is not oaked).
Taste: Very green with some SHARP tannins. Sour Cherry. Acid. A little rubbery bike tire thing.
Score: I originally gave this one an 87, but after the tasting was completed I gave it a retaste. It just doesn’t hold up to the other two wines. I now give it an 86-.
Note: I bought this wine two weeks ago at the 5 Cent Sale. All of the vintages at Bev Mo were 2009, but I found this one tucked in the bin. At Bev Mo, they display their wines upright at room temperature. There is a strong possibility that this bottle was sitting around the store for two years before I bought it. Not being stored properly, this bottle may not represent the 2007 vintage properly. Two questions: A) Have any of you tried the 2007 Ch. Ballan-Larquette and have notes to share? B) Would any of you ever buy an odd-vintaged wine that was not stored properly?
What? You want more food? Okay…
Alright. More wine…
Color: Same as the rest.
Nose: Blueberry. Cocoa. Chalk (I love chalk). I’m looking at my notes from Friday. It says “DOPE!”
Taste: Bell Pepper. There is this sweet lacquered wood taste to it. See that table in the picture above. Imagine taking a bite out of that, but in a good way. There is also a cranberry and white pepper component.
Score: The 09 was my favorite. It edged out the 06 because it was a little more complex. Give it an 89+.
For fun, I also had the other folks rank the wines before I revealed my scores. Here’s what they said…
KaraIsRad: She liked the 07 the best. It was followed closely by the 09 which barely edged out the 06.
Kara Thevegetarian: She also thought the 07 was the best, but she liked the 06 better than the 09.
Dave Thevegetarian: He was very much in my camp, scoring the 09 as the top wine (followed by the 06 and 07).
The takeaway for me was that this is a wine that can be consumed young. If you are going to hold it for a while (I had mine for 3 years), make sure that you store it properly. Put it in a cool place if you do not have a wine fridge, and keep them on their sides. Decanting for 15 minutes to a half and hour is a good idea. The 07 did start tasting off after a few hours, but again… I think it was doomed from the start. I am looking forward to tasting more wines from Ch. Ballan-Larquette.
What? MORE FOOD?!?!?
After the business of the night was done with, we had a really fun time hanging out. We even had a dance off.
Here is what my camera saw…
Good times, but now I’m hungry…
Tags: 2006, 2007, 2009, 5 Cent Sale, baked ziti of smoked mozzarella, BevMo, blue cheese burger, bon fire, bordeaux, cabernet franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chateau Ballan-Larquette, clos la chance, croatian fig brandy, Dave, dinner party, dope, emile's california chapagne, Food, fruit, home boy, Horizontal, it's on, Jeff, JeffIsRad, kara, Karaisrad, Merlot, Régis CHAIGNE, roasted asparagus soup, sauvignon blanc, Scam, stuffed zucchini crumble, Thevegetarian, third grade, Vegetarian, Vertical, Wine