What We Have Been Drinking—12/22/2014

Over the course of a week, I taste a bunch of wine, usually with friends, and almost always with my wife. It has been a solid three weeks since the last of these posts, mostly since I have been trying to catch up on the small collection of samples that had been growing in the cellar. Nonetheless, I was able to sneak into our own collection of wines now and then over the last three weeks.

2011 Cultivate The Feast: Retail $25 (The PLCB claims this has a retail of $25, but they are selling it for $8). 78% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, 5% Syrah. Initially, this was a bit of a fruity mess. OK, maybe not a mess, but quite fruity. I thought the positive reviews on PA Wine Talk were over blown and exaggerated. Well, then I fell asleep (no, I did not pass out) for a bit and then revisited. Showing a lot more complexity after the hour of air time, to the point of being Very Good, maybe Outstanding-ish. 88-90 Points.

2010 Elyse Zinfandel Morisoli Vineyard: Retail $25. Cassis, vanilla and black cherry Kool-Aid on the nose, big fruit upfront, which lacks the complexity underneath. Make no mistake, this is a big, fruity Zin right now, but I think that time will serve this well–as that fruit calms down a bit, that complexity will start to show. Patience, my friend, patience. Very Good, will be more with time. 87-89 Points.

2002 La Chapelle de La Mission Haut-Brion: Retail $35. We popped this after a few heavy hitters and even though this was not the greatest of years, this showed pretty well. Green pepper with white pepper and plum. Austere on the palate with plenty of acid and verve. Drink now if not sooner. Very Good. 87-89 Points.

2003 Louis Latour Volnay: Retail $30 This time, a few years after I last tried this wine, some earth and a hint of funk on the nose. A bit of raspberry and tart cherry on the palate with prominent acidity. This is unlikely to get much better–I think the difficulty of the vintage is starting to rear its head just a bit. Still, for now, Outstanding. 89-91 Points.

2006 Lemelson Vineyards Pinot Noir Thea’s Selection: Retail $35. We were having salmon, so this seemed like a natural, despite the touch of funk on first whiff along with all kinds of red berry fruit, dominated by a sour cherry. Surprising amount of fruit on the palate, though, with a bunch of eucalyptus as well. There is a tiny bit of grip there, but this is drinking really well now, and though it will likely keep for a bit longer, I do not see it getting much better. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.

2009 Panther Creek Pinot Noir Freedom Hill Vineyard: Retail $40. I went down to the cellar looking for another wine, but after five minutes, with the game on upstairs, I grabbed this instead. Not disappointed at all. A tiny bit of funk along with some black cherry and spice. Plenty of fruit on the palate with some intrigue on the back end. Solid Pinot, especially for the WTSO price ($17). Very Good. 87-89 Points.

2006 Trione Syrah River Road Ranch: Retail $40. The extra time that this had down in the cellar seems to have served it well. Dark and brooding in the glass with blackberry and vanilla prominent. On the palate, the fruit jumps to the front initially, but soon gives way to a wonderful complexity. The tannin on the backend suggests this is not done evolving.  Outstanding. 90-92 Points.

2004 Twomey Merlot Napa Valley: Retail $45. If more Merlot were like this, I would be drinking it all the time. Rich dark berry fruit with bits of chocolate and a touch of oak. Full mouthfeel without being over the top. This was really, really good.  Outstanding91-93 Points.

IMG_3470WINE OF THE WEEK:  It has been close to a month since I have chosen a Wine of the Week, so does that make this the Wine of the Month? I am not sure–that is a question that is beyond my education level, perhaps. Regardless, looking over the wines we consumed from my personal cellar over the last few weeks, it is a rather eclectic bunch, at least for me. Of course, there was quite a bit of Pinot and a smattering of French for sure, but there was nary a white, which surprised me. What was more surprising was that two of the wines were predominantly Merlot–I do not drink a whole bunch of Merlot, which might be the understatement of the year: I currently have a grand total of 7 bottles of Merlot in the cellar, which represents less than one half of one percent of the entirety of my “collection”. In the end, I chose one of those Merlots, the 2004 Twomey Merlot Napa Valley as my Wine of the Week. If I can find more wines like the Twomey, I might have to add “Drink more Merlot” to my growing list of New Year’s Resolutions.

What was your Wine of the Week?