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 over the past few weeks. These are wines that were not sent as samples—in most cases, I actually paid for these wines (although a few have been given as gifts).
2019 Argyle Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, Oregon: Retail $28. Under screw cap. 60% stainless, 40% neutral oak. I was in Columbus, Ohio, again, for another football game, this time with my younger son who is far more particular when it comes to food. Thus, we ended up at a glorified dinner, Cap City where the wine list is limited but contains a few “interesting” choices. I opted for this (at least in part since I knew it was a screw top and it would be thus easier to bring it back to the room. Medium color in the glass, with intense black cherry, a bit of “dirty earth”, and a floral aspect that is alluring. The palate is tart and focussed with truck loads of fruit, just hints of that earth that was so prevalent on the nose, and a lengthy finish that lingers for well over a minute. Very nice. Excellent. 91 Points.
2006 Charles de Cazanove Champagne Stradivarius, France: Retail? Paid $80 at the Wine Bistro, Columbus, Ohio. 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay (the blend for the 2007 vintage). It was just a few moments after my team lost–I had flown up to Cleveland to pick up my son and we drove down to Columbus for the game. It was a wonderful afternoon with the exception of the final score. A bit deflated, I decided to follow Napoleon’s assertion and seek champagne in defeat. I opted to take a flyer on a place called the Wine Bistro (which is actually in Upper Arlington, but that is far from the point). I’m glad I did. While the wine list available online is fine and has some gems for great prices, the real treasures line the walls inside where an eclectic (and extensive) collection lies, without a list, price scribbled on the bottle, just a few dollars above retail. I naturally gravitated toward the bubbles. I was about to pull the trigger on a Grand Cru from Verzenay, but then, at the last moment, I saw this. I have had a bunch of the NV wines from the producer, but I think this is the first Stradivarius. Golden in color without much sparkle, but there is a ton going on here. Baked apple pie but in the Tarte Tatin way—apples caramelized to the point of almost applesauce and a yeasty, flaky crust. Yeah. Crazy good. The weather certainly helped (I had escaped the Houston heat) but this wine changed my whole perspective on the day. Good ole Napoléon might have been right. Outstanding. 94 Points.
2018 Crocker & Starr Bridesmaid, Napa Valley, CA: Retail $32. 94% Sauvignon Blanc, 6% Sémillon. I was in Columbus with Sebastian for the Ohio State game and we (I) found this little Italian resto in Granville Heights, Foglio. The wine list was not extensive by any means, but this Crocker & Starr caught my eye. I had visited the winery and was quite impressed with the wines, top to bottom. This Sauvignon falls right in line with my recollection: bright citrus fruit, a touch of celery seed, and a subtle minerality. Whoa. The palate starts with the fruit but quickly switches over to a focus on the weight. Holy cow, there is significant heft here, causing to ponder whether this really is a Sauvignon. By the mid-palate, and certainly by the finish, the acidity catches up, ending in considerable length. Yeah. This is good juice. Wow. Outstanding. 93 Points.
NV René Geoffroy Champagne Premier Cru Expression Brut, France: Retail $50. At Wine Bistro, Columbus, Ohio, $71. Disgorged Feb, 2016. The somm at the restaurant said it was 100% Meunière but after a bit of research, while it changes every bottling, it seems to always include the three main grapes in Champagne at roughly a third each. Also, approximately 50% of the wine comes from the current vintage and the other half from a perpetual reserve, essentially a solera system, which I think is fairly rare in Champagne. This certainly has some age on it as is witnessed through the cork (which, once pulled, never really expanded–which suggests the cork had been in there for quite some time), the slightly golden color, and the yeasty/ever-so-slightly oxidized character on the nose. There are also hints of lemon curd and a distinct nuttiness (hazlenut?). The palate does not have as many of the “a bit older” markers, but there is plenty of tartness, layers of that citrus (with hints of green apple) and that nuttiness is more pronounced. Really fantastic. Excellent. 92 Points.
2018 Massimo Rivetti Langhe Arneis, Italy: Retail $30? Restaurant $47. 100% Arneis. I had picked my son up in Cleveland (he’s a freshman there) and we made the two-hour drive down to Columbus for the big football game. Well, that did not go so well. After spending the night “down south” we headed back north and planned to go to one of my favorite spots in Cleveland (actually just outside of town to the west), which had both great pizza and a fabulous wine list. I called. I Googled. Both indicated that they were open. Drove across town (about 30 minutes) to find a firmly closed door with no sigh of life. Ugh. I went into scramble mode and found an Italian restaurant across the street that had this little gem on the list. Good citrus, nice balance, tartness is subtle at first but really kicks in at the finish. Very nice. Excellent. 90 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Another week when the Wine of the Week pretty much presented itself. As I mentioned in the note, I was in Columbus, Ohio with my older son to attend the college football game, a contest that my team was predicted to win by at least two touchdowns. Well, that did not happen as they lost and played pretty horribly in doing so. Thus, I treated myself to a bottle of 2006 Charles de Cazanove Stradivarius, this week’s top wine. It certainly soothed my mood and helped me (somewhat) forget how much money I spent to go see the game. Since then, my team has turned it around a bit, and is playing much better. I like to think that this wine had a hand in all of that.
What was/were your Wine(s) of the Week?