Thursday, September 21, 2017

Forts Latour Quilceda Red Wine

Forts de Latour, Quilceda Creek, Pommery for Outer Banks beachhouse deck beef tenderloin dinner

We're spending the week on the Outer Banks of North Carolina (OBX) at a beach house and brought a case of wine to enjoy with our prepared meals. The featured wine of the mid-week dinner was Les Forts de Latour, a tribute to son-in-law Johnnie Fort and daughter Erin. Les Forts is the second label to the flagship Grand Vin Latour, which we served from a 6 liter Imperial at their wedding, but that wine is over the top price wise for even special occasion serving such as this for most of us.

The Grand Vin Latour 1990 was rated 100 points and was anointed Wine of the Year by Wine Spectator in 1993, which only adds further to its lofty heights and associated prices. We hold a few bottles of the Grand Vin which at prices approaching $1000 each I call 'once in a lifetime' event wines, as opposed to 'once a year', 'once a month/week', and 'everyday' wines.

The 1990 vintage was so highly regarded globally, this was the first of three years and wines from the vintage to receive Wine of the Year acclaim - the Latour from Bordeaux, one from California (Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Special Selection 1990, in 1994). and one from Australia (Penfolds Shiraz South Australia Grange 1990, in 1995).

This bottle was from our collection of birth year wines from the 1990 vintage commemorating son Alec's vintage, a fitting tribute for a special family dinner, to serve such a selection. As the second label of a 'perfect' wine, it lived up to lofty expectations.

Before dinner, Ryan opened a bottle of Pommery Champagne that he brought from his home cellar. An ideal starter for a festive dinner on the deck.

Our second bottle of the evening, to fill out the flight and compare opposite the Latour was an American Meritage (a Bordeaux style blend) from producer Quilceda Creek in Washington State. This was from the 2006 vintage, the wedding anniversary year of Erin and Johnnie.

Our feature dinner preparation for the evening was beef tenderloin with twice baked potatos and brussel sprouts. The Les Forts and Quilceda Red were idea matches for the food and were each extraordinary.

Dining on the beach house deck looking out on the dunes and the roaring ocean surf below provided a spectacular and memorable setting. During dinner we witnessed a fox crossing the property and an overflight of military helicopter and formation of fighter jets.

Chateau Les Forts de Latour 1990

As stated, this is the second label wine from the prestigious First Growth Chateau Latour which dates back to the 16th century. The Latour vineyards cover 80 hectares (2.2 acres per hectare), 48 of which are adjacent to the chateau, known as the "Enclos." The Enclos consists of a ridge that peaks at 16 meters above the level of the Gironde River which makes up the Bordeaux valley region. The grape varietals planted on the estate, typical of the Medoc (The Right Bank of the Bordeaux region),  are comprised of  75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. The first vintage of Forts de Latour was in 1966 and constant work in the vineyard and in the cellars has resulted in achieving the level of a top Medoc classified growth.

An extraordinary wine from an extraordinary vintage, the Forts de Latour was a perfect accompaniment to the superb preparation of the beef tenderloin that one could cut with a fork.

Opaque, ruby colored, medium bodied, a full bouquet of violets floral perfume and forest floor that holds on the breath in the mouth long after sipping, silky smooth, sinewy, polished notes of black currant fruit seamlessly integrated with notes of tobacco, leather, hints of cassis and touch of cedar and spice on the almost delicate tannin finish.

At 27 years, this resembles a mature Bordeaux that seems to be at the latter stage of its drinking window, not likely to improve further with aging, but not to be rushed to consumption either. Indeed, we still hold a half case of this wine acquired en premier (as futures prior to release) to commemorate son Alec's birth year, holding and anticipating for more special occasions or family events.

RM 93 points.
Quilceda Creek Red Wine 2006
Like the Forts de Latour, this is also a second label wine of a prestigious producer, from the Washington State Columbia Valley producer Quilceda Creek, known for Cabernets and other Bordeaux varietal wines, including this proprietary Red Wine blend of Bordeaux varietals. The blend of this vintage is similar to that of the blend in Forts de Latour, in the Right Bank style - 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% each Cabernet Franc and Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec. 

Even at 11 years, this was half the age of the Forts de Latour. While similar in the blend of Bordeaux varietals, this was more in the American style at a walloping 15.2% alcohol as compared to more subdued 12.5% of the Bordeaux.  

This was dark inky garnet colored, medium-full bodied, concentrated structured forward black berry and black raspberry fruits with notes of kirsch, almost cherry cola like with dark mocha chocolate, hints of cedar, tones of tobacco and leather on the structured tannin lingering finish. 

RM 92 points. 

After dinner dessert included chocolate cake, red velvet cake and ice cream - chocolate, strawberry and vanilla (below).