A very good Bordeaux-blend with a twist…
This Bordeaux-style blend, produced in British Columbia by Le Vieux Pin, impressed us in terms of complexity, ease of drinkability, and value. Similar to many blends produced on the Right Bank in Bordeaux, where Merlot dominates Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, the twist of Petit Rouge comes in the form of varietals, a combination of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah, and their relative proportions, 49%, 37%, and 14%, respectively.
We appreciated that we could discern characteristics of each varietal, although some of the more common/typical tastes—dark plums in Merlot and green pepper in Cabernet Franc, for example—were barely noticeable. The alcohol content, 14.5%, made its presence known, but not in an off-putting way. We’d like to cellar another bottle for a couple more years to see how it matures.
Although not an overly big or elegant wine, it had a nice degree of complexity, offering plenty of flavours and pairing options. We had it with a margherita pizza (fresh tomatoes and fresh basil on a thin, whole wheat crust) and it cut some of the fat from the pizza while maintaining its own structure. We could see this wine pairing beautifully with Italian dishes, especially with second and third courses (pasta and meat dishes). Yet, when we had this wine with cheese and dark chocolate, it lost some of its luster.
At less than $14 CAD, it represents tremendous value. We will definitely pick up another bottle or two the next time we visit Western Canada.
Rating (from 70 to 100): 90/100
The Bottle Details…
Name: Petit Rouge
Producer: Le Vieux Pin
Region/Country: The winery is located in Oliver, British Columbia, whereas the varietals were grown in South Okanagan and Similkameen Valley.
Grape Varietal(s): Merlot (49%), Cabernet Franc (37%), and Syrah (14%)
Alcohol content: 14.5%
Consumed: At home
Recommended By: Picked it up at the Firefly Fine Wine and Ales shop on Cambie Street in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Cost: $13.45 CAD
Bottle Presentation: An interesting, modern, industrial-looking label, providing basic information about the wine. It reminded us of both a chemical data sheet for a laboratory and an ingredients list.
The Tasting Details…
Appearance: Medium ruby red.
Nose: A medium nose, with red fruit (raspberry and cranberry), grilled meat, savoury spice, leather, and eucalyptus.
Taste: A dry, medium-bodied red blend, with medium-to-high, drying tannins and medium-to-high acidity. We detected an array of flavours, including blueberry jam, coffee, bacon, leather, wood, earth, graphite, chalk, white pepper, and ink. The alcohol made its presence known, but not in an offensive manner.
Finish: A long finish of earth, chalk, and white pepper.