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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).
2005 Château Bourgneuf, Pomerol: From magnum. Retail $80. 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc. We took this to a party with friends and it was a big hit. A complex nose of ripe red and black berry fruit, pepper, spice, and forest floor. On the palate, this is a delight—After the subtle berry fruit upfront, there is plenty of structure and complexity on the mid-palate. The tannins, while still present, seem to be well on their way to integration and the multiple facets meld together wonderfully. I feared that I might have opened this too early, and while it certainly could have fared well for another 5-10 years in the magnum, it was certainly fabulous tonight. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2013 Fields Family Wines Shiraz Postage Stamp Vineyard: Retail $40. All cards on the table: I have spent some time with winemaker Ryan Sherman and would consider him a friend. I also found this wine in my cellar even though I had not entered it into my cellar, and thus I saw it as a “free” bottle. The wine comes from a tiny vineyard (hence “Postage Stamp”) in Lodi and is arguably the winery’s best wine year after year. Dark and inky with blackberry and plum lead to a complex wine that oozes verve and sweats character. Rich while complex, thought-provoking while hedonistic, this wine is built for both short-term consumption as well as long-term cellaring. This is paradoxical across the board, but clearly fabulous. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
NV Salmon Champagne Montgolfière: Retail $50. 50% Pinot Meunier, 25% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay. Champagnes that have a high percentage of Pinot Meunier, are generally fruit driven wines and right out of the bottle this is citrus a go-go with plenty of yeast. This comes off as a young Champers and could use some time. Still? Bright, cheery and full of verve. Nice. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
NV Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut: Retail $45. 50 to 55% Pinot Noir, 15 to 20% Pinot Meunier, and 28 to 33% Chardonnay. There are plenty of people out there who disparage the good old Veuve. The claim, in my opinion, is based in a couple of legitimate points: Veuve Clicquot is owned by a large conglomerate that churns out millions and millions of bottles of champagne and the “yellow label” (it is actually more orange to me) is quite popular with the millennial crowd, which , apparently, makes it undesirable. Me? I have always been a fan, despite the above criticism. Good fruit, good “yeastiness,” and more than the requisite level of acidity–it’s all there. Sure, there are better champagnes out there and this wine, at $45+ is overpriced (but I did not pay that much). But. There is a reason that this is a standard-bearer. Very good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: This week was a slightly odd one in wine consumption as I recently got a great deal on several bottles of Veuve Clicquot, and we drank a few of them. As I mentioned in the note above, many people throw plenty of shade at the Veuve for reasons that have nothing to do with what is in the bottle. It is not the best champagne in the world, and yes, it is usually priced too high, but the price I was offered was just too good to pass up. Having said all of that, we were able to get past our Veuve windfall and pop some other bottles. The magnum of 2005 Bourgneuf was quite wonderful and was arguably the wine of the night at the dinner party we attended. The 2013 Fields Family Wines Shiraz Postage Stamp Vineyard, though was not only the best wine that I opened this week, I opened it during the NFC Championship game, which was won by my Philadelphia Eagles, sending them back to the Super Bowl for the first time in a while. So as I have asserted many times, context matters and that wine was particularly tasty as I watched the Birds completely dismantle the Minnesota Vikings.
What was your Wine of the Week?