We recently had dinner at Nao Steakhouse. Over the past decade it has been de rigeur to pair a hearty California cabernet sauvignon or Argentinian malbec with steak. That need not be the case. Along with the outstanding steaks, and appetizers, at Nao, we paired the following wines from the restaurant's wine list hailing from Bordeaux and Tuscany. 2008 Château Vieux Lartigue Varietal: Merlot and Cabernet Franc
Château Vieux Lartigue, a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, is ranked as a Grand Cru, or “great growth”, from Saint-Emilion. The synergy of the two varietals produces a velvety, rich wine with floral nuances and earthy, red-fruit flavours. Mid-palate weight comes from the juicy Merlot; aromatics and tannins come from the Cabernet Franc, the lighter-bodied varietals.
Spicy notes of French oak rise above distinct aromas of cherry and berry. The palate has a backbone of Sangiovese, a roundness of Merlot and enhanced body from the oak. The fruit purity and varietal signatures are testament to the meticulous care given to the young vines. Note: Some sediment may occur in the bottom of the bottle as the wine is not filtered.
91 points, Bruce Sanderson (Wine Spectator Magazine):
"Plenty of cherry and plum fruit is flanked by leather, tobacco andearth flavors. Balanced and bright, picking up hints of wild herbson the lingering finish. Sangiovese and Merlot. Drink nowthrough 2020. Our Pairings Mains: A5 Kobe Striploin (Miyazaki, Japan) Creekstone Farms Prime Ribeye (Arkansas City, Kansas) Sides: Mashed Potato (mixed with Foie gras butter) Mushrooms (Wild + Cultivted + Dashi + Smoked Butter) The wines did have a large markup added to them at Nao but we would recommend sourcing them from distributors listed above.
When we think of Bordeaux we inevitably think of the Crus under the 1855 Classification and we also think about how expensive they are. This invariably prices out people who love their wine but have budget constraints (i.e. 99.9& of us) but that need not happen; there are alternatives if you love wines of that iconic region. As the Vins de Bordeaux site states "the Cru Bourgeois wines should be considered best buys when you compare the quality to their price.These are wines to savor every evening." The Château de Panigon 2010 vintage is a good example of Cru Bourgeois wines. Hailing from Médoc, it is an apt expression of a balanced wine that pairs superbly with food and is a perfect antitode for these cold winter nights. You can pick it up from the Vintages section at your LCBO (Vintages #348250) for $19.95 per 750 mL bottle while quantities last. You can also pick up the 2011 vintage 3 dollars more per bottle. Our initial thoughts on the 2010 are below -- we hope you enjoy it as much as we did.