Over the course of a week, I taste a bunch of wine, usually with friends, and almost always with my wife. Here are some of the wines we tasted this last week that stood out:
2004 Ancient Coast Vidal Icewine: Retail $20. Despite the 2009 “Drink By Date” on Cellar Tracker, this wine is still rather fabulous. Color is noticeably darker than the last bottle with great apple and a bit of peach with a lip smacking tartness. This would have been a great pairing with an apple based dessert such as tarte tatin. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2010 Argyle Pinot Noir: Retail $20. Following the Campion (below), this was a noticeable improvement. Not a blockbuster Pinot by any means, but a solid, everyday wine. Bright fruit, but a bit thin on the midpalate and finish. Good. Maybe Very Good. 85-87 Points.
2002 Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon St. Helena Home Vineyard: Retail $70. Restrained. Surprisingly so. A very good food wine with hints of vanilla and raspberry. A fine effort but not what I expected; I see “Beringer” and I think a big, busty harlot. But this was refined, mellow, and understated. Very Good. 88-90 Points.
2005 Campion Pinot Noir: Retail $25 (?) I picked these up from Wines Til Sold Out for a pretty good price I thought ($15), but I was a bit disappointed here. I have always respected Campion but this is a sub-par effort. No real fruit to speak of, nor much complexity. It opened a bit with some time, but not enough to suggest any future improvement. Average to Good. 81-83 Points.
2009 Chad Pinot Noir: Retail $30 (?) I know there are fans of this wine, but I still don’t get it. Sure, it’s fine, but it is by no means a QPR knockout. This drinks like a sub-$20 Pinot: some fruit (particularly on the nose), but thin on the mid-palate and through the finish. The second half of the bottle was noticeably better the next day, however, bumping this up a tiny bit. Good, but no more (Day One) 83-85 Points. Very Good (Day Two) 86-88 Points.
2000 Clos Labère Sauternes: Retail $25. Noticeably better than the last two bottles we had of this wine. Dark. Really dark. Not overly sweet caramel and pecan. Interesting and really good; a bit like visiting your grandma while she is still cognizant and knows who you are–a warm, welcoming, feel good visit. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
2010 Martin Pasler Pinot Blanc: Retail $20 (?) Bright and tart with great grapefruit and Granny Smith apple. There is lip puckering acidity that balances out the fruit. This is a nice aperitif, patio, light seafood wine that is quite refreshing. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2005 Patient Cottat Sancerre Rouge: Retail $18. Completely different than the last bottle (which was badly corked)–this was fantastic: earthy with shy fruit and great balance. This is a classic old world style, but not “Burgundian” either. This was even more restrained, but a delightful drink. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2004 Peterson Cabernet Sauvignon Bradford Mountain Vineyard: Retail $28. Popped and poured at a local restaurant. Some nice red fruit on the nose with some green pepper sneaking in. Good restrained fruit on the palate and some stuffing on the finish. Jamie really did a nice job here. Very good. 88-90 Points.
2006 Tallulah Syrah Bald Mountain Ranch: Retail $28. I have had a few of these now and keep wishing I would have bought more at the $13 price they offered at Wines Til Sold Out. My original note still rings true: Wow. Really dark, almost black. Great nose of white pepper and black currants, this wine was singing even before it passed my lips. Once it did, another ‘Wow’. Rich and deep and quite concentrated, bursting with dark red fruit. The finish was lush and persistent. This really was Outstanding. $13? Stupid good deal. 90-92 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: For a few moments this week, I really considered given WOTW honors to the 2009 Chad Pinot Noir since it really came around the second day. It seemed that it knew that it had an inferior showing and it wanted to prove something the next day. Then I realized that I was just trying to justify buying a case of the stuff and that personifying wine was probably a clear cut sign that I really do have a problem. No, this week I am going with a Pinot, but one from a region that many do not associate with that noblest of grapes, the 2005 Patient Cottat Sancerre. I am choosing it since it was oh so tasty, but also because it was such a surprise. The last bottle was so badly corked that I could not even finish my glass, let alone the bottle. I was so worried about this one that I chose to open it while my wife was out of town, thinking that it too would be horrible. Instead, it was delightful. So now I just feel bad not sharing it with my wife. Oh well, I’ll get over it.