"What do Bordeaux and South Africa have in common? Not much on this occasion."

Fall is here, and for me it has reignited a taste for Bordeaux.  I have had this 2001 Les Ormes de Pez slumbering in my cellar for a while and thought it would be a good time to crack it open.  2001 was not a legendary vintage, but it is considered to be a very good “sleeper vintage” by many critics.  We thought of matching it up with another Bordeaux, but then thought it might pair well with something from South Africa.  Cabernet Franc is one of the grape varieties normally included in the mix of grapes that go into Bordeaux reds.  It is more prominent on the Right Bank, but there is some Cab Franc on the Left Bank as well, where Les Ormes de Pez is located in the commune of Saint Estephe.  The wines were from two different countries and were very different.  Perhaps a pairing with a typical Bordeaux blend from South Africa would have been a better match.

2001 Les Ormes de Pez Bordeaux, Saint Estephe

The 2001 Les Ormes de Pez is a great example of straight forward classic Bordeaux.  On the nose it is a terrific balance between fruit and earth.  There are tart berries, smoke, chocolate, and a light spiciness.  There is a good balance between acidity and plushness in the mouth and the color is dark garnet.  Just good old fashioned well balanced Bordeaux here.  A great restaurant wine.  RECOMMENDED

2007 Raats Cabernet Franc, South Africa

Welcome to the smoke house.  You will know this is Cab Franc, with notes of green peppers, blueberries, and beef jerky.  But the overwhelming presence of campfire mesquite smoke is way out of balance.  And I like me some smokiness in my wines.  Really, it tastes like liquid smoke had been added to the bottle.  If you like smoked anything, and want to try smoked wine, here you go.  NOT RECOMMENDED