August 15, 2013

Pasty Pairing 2013: Round 1

A vacation, a real vacation. Not a two day grueling drive from Trolland to The Superior State, a true five day chance to relax. Anyway, you didn't come here to listen to me gloat. As a common frequenter of The Land of the Consummate Pasty, I had to take this opportunity to provide a public service.

The Pasty (or Pastie, the spelling varies by shop) is a half meat pie in a lard crust traditionally filled with ground beef, potato and rutabaga. Created Cornwall and brought to the Upper Peninsula in the 1860's after the mining collapsed in their homeland. Later waves of Finnish, Italian and Eastern European immigrants to the Western U.P. incorporated the pasty to their diet as portable and dense meal that will keep you going, in the mines or in the field.

For this paring experiment I'm using frozen pasties from The Pasty Oven, purchased from the store on US-2. Although fresh baked pasties should be used, with out knowing how long to decant each of the wines beforehand, timing the trip to the shop would be near impossible. With 20+ years of eating pasties in Iron Mountain, I can say, with confidence, that the The Pasty Oven makes the best pasty that you can buy.


Round 1
French Southern Rhone Blend (Plan Pegau, Lot: 2010), 
SpanishTempranillo (Marques de Caceres Gran Reserva Rioja, 2004)
Washington Merlot (Hedge Family Estate's La Bourgeoisie, Merlot, 2010)

Round 2
Italian Nebbiolo (Vietti, Nebbiolo, Perbacco, Langhe, 2009)
Italian Borolo (Damilano, Barolo 2003)

Round 3:
Best of Round 1 and 2

Plan Pegau “Lot: 2010”, Southern Rhone, France 
From owner Laurence Feaud of Domaine du Pegau, the Chateauneuf-du-Pape (CdP)  producer, comes Plan Pegau.  CdP (Chateauneuf-du-Pape), is a village in the Southern Rhone Valley of France. Apart from being a village, CdP is also a wine style that incorporates thirteen different grapes into its final blend.  That blend can only be called CdP if the grapes contained are from the Village of CdP.
So what if a wine producer in the Village of CdP wants to create wine in the style of CdP from grapes grown outside the village? You do what Laurence Feaud did, call it table wine from the Southern Rhone and slap your label on it. I don’t know why it’s labeled lot 2010 instead of the vintage (obviously 2010), but I’m excited to get started.

Tasting Notes:
Hour 1: Tight cinnamon, savory, tannic. Might be a while
Hour 2: (Buying Pasty and other supplies)
Hour 3: Cinnamon, Liquorish on the nose and eucalyptus on the palate. Smooth, light tannin, medium finish with the taste of tart cherries.

To begin, the spice and the ‘funk’ in the wine matches well with the black pepper in the pastie. On the other side, those tart cherries complement the rutabaga quite well. It will be hard to match this.

ABV: 13.5%
Cases Made: 5,000
Price $16

Marques de Caceres, Gran Reserva, La Rioja, Spain 2004

Since Grand Reserva Rioja is a little straighter forward to understand than Plan Pegau, I’ll just put up a link.

Tasting Notes:
On the initial pour, I thought it was doing great so I stuck the cork back in.
3hr’s: Not a good idea, I thought three hours would put the wine over the edge, I was wrong. The tannins cut into the palate on the first sip. Raspberries, cherries an minerality in a big way.  

Still showing a lot of tannin after a few hours out, I will have to revisit this wine in the morning. After another 5 years or decade it might be a great pop and pour, not now. I’m disappointed for what I spent on this wine. Marques de Caceres Grand Reserva does not play well with others.

ABV: 14%
Cases Imported: 2,000
Price $35

The House of Independent Producers, La Bourgeoisie, Merlot, Bacchaus Vineyard, Columbia Valley, Washington, USA, 2010.

Tasting Notes:
Big Merlot! oak and strawberry with a clean if short finish. Has an addicting floral nose. La Bourgeoisie may be a dark horse.

A fun conversation piece and a good cocktail wine, but this Merlot is staying off the table. La Bourgeoisie gets obliterated by all aspects of this Pasty. The heaviness of the crust and the texture of the beef drown out the mouthfeel. The black pepper overrides the any oak or strawberry. Very little of it works (Tasted with a less peppery pasty; the same thing happened.)

ABV: 14%
Cases Made: 6,000
Price $13

Winner Round 1

Southern Rhone Blend Plan Pegau Lot: 2010 

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