Welcome to Friday Night Flights for 25 May 2018!
This is the third installment of “Friday Night Flights,” where we drink two wines blind and give you the scoop. One will always be from Germany, and the other can be from anywhere, but we choose them to be comparable on varietal and price point.
This week’s Wine A is medium ruby in color. The nose offers blackberries and black cherries and definitely has some mushroomy/forest floor and green asparagus overtones. There’s a bit of clove, and I suspect that it is matured partially in new oak.
The palate offers a bit more black cherry than on the nose, with blackberries, and a bit of cassis. The smooth and integrated tannins are on the high side of medium, with high acid. Overall the wine has nice (medium-plus) body. The finish is a bit disappointing, but not unpleasant.
I find the wine to be well-structured with a nice balance between acid, tannin, and fruit. There is clearly aging potential here, probably for 10 years or more.
Wine B is a bit lighter in color, with definite hints of garnet on the rim. The nose gives substantially more evidence of new oak than Wine A, with notes of toasty vanilla. The fruits here are a bit more pronounced than in Wine A, with a mix of black fruits (black cherry and blueberry) and red fruits (raspberry).
The palate offers the same lovely mix of fruit along with white and black pepper. The smooth tannins here are perhaps less pronounced than in Wine A (medium rather than medium-plus), but there is also high acid. The fruit is more pronounced than in Wine A here as well, but with similarly high acid.
Wine B has a lighter body (medium) than Wine A, but a longer finish. There is still aging potential, but it is probably less than Wine A, which is more tannic.
Wine A is the 2014 Château Lilian Ladouys Cru Bourgeois (St. Estèphe). It is 55% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc. It spent 15 months in barrels during fermentation, 30% of them new oak. It has 13.5% alcohol. More technical information can be found here.
Robert Parker rated this wine with 90-92 points.
Wine B is the 2014 “Tohu Wabohu” from Markus Schneider (Pfalz). It is 58% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. It has 14.5% alcohol. “Tohu Wabohu” comes from the Hebrew tohu va vohu in the first book of Moses, meaning “desolate and empty,” but in this context means something closer to “disordered and wild.” And for Germany, right bank Bordeaux varietals are, indeed, something wild. The wine is dedicated to Markus Schneider’s son Nicolas.
James Suckling gave this wine 90 points
Both wines retail for about EUR 20 (USD 24 or GBP 18 at current exchange rates).
It’s clear that these are both very good wines with a lot going on in the glass. The greater share of Cabernet in the Lilian Ladouys lends to more tannins, while the Scheider has more fruit. While both wines have aging potential, I would expect the Lilian Ladouys to be able to age longer and develop more tobacco notes.
We drank both wines with a dinner of pepper and salt encrusted grilled steak, mashed potatoes, and broccoli. The Schneider was perhaps my favorite, but Alison thought the Lilian Ladouys was a better match with the food. We both found each wine to be enormously satisfying, however, and a good bargain for the quality. What is perhaps surprising is that a German wine could hold its own with a highly-rated right bank Bordeaux. The choice between the two wines is, in my opinion, a matter of stylistic preference rather than one of quality.
Join us next week for the next Friday Night Flights!