I was making spaghetti bolognese for my gal on Valentine’s day, and headed to my local LCBO to find something special (for myself – my wife is still nursing). I was on the hunt for something italian – my bolognese sauce has an almost sweet savoriness to it, definitely rich and lots of tomato so acids are pretty high. I was thinking a barbera, but wasn’t sure what I would find at the LCBO. When I checked the new releases section of Vintages, there were two bottles that caught my eye. The Pio Cesare 04 Barolo for 73 bones (my wife would kill me) and the 06 Ca’Marcanda Promis for 49. The Barolo I’m going to have to add to my cellar at some point, but I knew bringing 3 or 4 bottles home wouldn’t go over so well. I went on to the Promis. I have to admit, the fact I saw “Gaja” on the label definitely drew me. I’m a big fan of Gaja wines, as expensive as they are.
No info on the back of this bottle, so I whipped out my trusty Blackberry smartphone and googled the wine. Cab Sauv/Syrah/Sangiovese blend. Wow, I couldn’t have found a better blend for my dish. Some tannins to play with the sweetness, good acidity to match, and an interesting flavour profile to play with the cinnamon/nutmeg/thyme/oregano spices. Cool.
I get a cab sauv nose – cedar, cigar box, some blackberry and cherry. We depart from cab there. There’s a hint of barnyard, and some underlying herbal/spice notes I can’t quite make out. The mouthfeel is weighty and silky. The structure is not what I was expecting – medium acidity and soft, velvety tannins. Black cherry flavours, and blackberry up front moving through to a roasted almonds and dried cranberry finish, with some really interesting sage-like spice components. Long-ish finish, nice cherry + roasted nuts finish. Well balanced wine, the alcohol is unnoticeable.
This is a really well made wine; well balanced, complex and aromatic. Ready to drink now, but this will definitely be a treat with some time – I get the sense there is still a lot more waiting for the folks that are patient enough to wait a little longer. The fruit is dense and layered and my untrained palate can’t pick it all out. Everytime I go back to the glass to smell, there is another new aromatic waiting for me. Is it worth 50 bones? For that price there are a number of options waiting at your local LCBO. This wine is great now, but more exciting I think is the promise of what could be there in the future. One bottle to share with friends and family, another to stock away for awhile to see what it will bring in years to come. Go for it, your palate and your friends will be happy you did.
AFTERNOTES: This has been opened longer and I’ve had a couple more glasses, so take this with a grain of salt or two but this wine is really opening up. Great fruit and spice – the nose is really opening up with licorice, cinnamon, black cherry – still some leather and earthiness, and the flavour profile is really interesting. Lots of fruit. Complex, beautiful, well balanced. Give it a try put it in the decanter for an hour or so and serve it up you won’t be disappointed!