What I have been drinking—7/19-7/26

 2006 Argyle Spirithouse Pinot Noir:  Retail ~$60. Purchased for personal consumption. After two weeks in France, I have to admit that I had an itch for some domestic pinot. Don’t get me wrong, I love Burgundy, but I also love the juice produced here. Argyle is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Twisted and poured. Great nose of red berries and a bit of spice and on the palate the fruit is nicely integrated with the delicate tannins. 2008 got all the press in Oregon, but 2006 (and 2007) are not slouches by any means. Very long finish. Outstanding. 92 points.

2005 Steele Wines Cabernet Franc Rosé: Retail: ??? Purchased in an online auction for personal consumption.  I have had two bottles of this over the last few months.  First note: Not nearly as bad as I had feared. Actually it was rather nice after some initial astringency. A hint of strawberry was about it on the fruit front, but some nice rustic secondary flavors. Good to very good. 86 points.  Second bottle: This one was decidedly better than the first. Much more fruit both on the nose and on the palate and a richer, fuller mouthfeel than just about any other rosé I have had recently. Very Good to Excellent. 89 points.

2007 Château Paradis Coteaux d’Aix en Provence Terre des Anges: Retail ~$12. Purchased from LastBottle for personal consumption.  Chilled and poured. A bit of heat and a hint of fruit on the nose that did not bode well. On the palate, the heat shows quickly as well as a bit of astringency, but for me it is hard to be too harsh on any cold rosé on a hot summer day. I had the forethought of plopping this in the fridge before I went to work and it was the perfect antidote for a long day. And it was a rosé. And it was a another great deal from LastBottle.  Very Good.  86 points.

2010 Melini Chianti Borghi d’Elsa: Retail ~$14. Purchased at the PLCB for $5 for personal consumption. I bought a case of this several months ago to have with pizza or pasta or when I did not feel like thinking too much about what I was drinking.  This was one of those nights–I was watching a recording of the Tour de France and I had been on Total Media Blackout (TMB) so that the result would not be spoiled. The problem: The recording is 5 and a half hours long and I am still on European time, still waking up at 4 a.m. The wine seems to have improved since the last go around, with a nice classic Chianti nose of black cherry and a bit of earthiness.  There is also a bit of heat (an indicator of the alcohol being out of balance a bit).  On the palate, certainly thin and the alcohol does indeed stand out. Short finish.  Not horrible, by any means, especially given the price.  Good. 84 points.

2009 Red Truck Wines Pink Truck: Retail ~$10-12. I picked this up on sale at the PLCB last fall. I have been a fan of the Red Truck wines, I guess.  I suppose a ‘Wine Guy’ should shy away from this price point and style of wine, but I don’t.  Like I have said before, I like all wine, not just the fancy-schmancy expensive stuff (although when you come over for dinner and are wondering what to bring…).  I was surprised on the first swig of this: it certainly is not dry, which is what I was expecting.  In fact, it reminds me of, dare I say it?  White Zinfandel.  Now before you get all indignant (or excited), understand that I do not have the disdain for good ole White Zin that most wine snobs do.  First, on a hot summer day, after mowing the lawn (if I had a lawn), a white zin would hit the spot (more so than a Miller Lite, for sure).  Second, whether you like it or not, white zin has played a huge role in the development of the Napa (in particular) wine market.  Many wineries made white zin by the truckload and it paid the bills, enabling those wineries to buy other vineyards and experiment with other wines.  There.  I said it.  White Zin is not the devil, not at all.  This wine, while sweet (and not technically a White Zin), definitely has some residual sugar (that means it tastes sweet), but it also has some body and even fruit.  I got these to try and hold up to the spice and oomph that you find in Korean cuisine.  Even though we didn’t have this with Korean food, I am confident that it will do the job, if in a non-contemplative way.  Good. 82 points.

2006 Argyle Brut: I have mentioned several times my affinity for Argyle on this site, despite not receiving anything in return (I do get killer deals from a ‘guy’ at Argyle, but I doubt he even knows about the drunken cyclist).  This was my last bottle of the 2006, which we took to our friends house on the beach, and this is still really drinking well. The green apple that was quite evident on previous bottles has subsided a bit allowing more citrus notes to come through. On the palate, still very bright and vibrant with a medium finish. Really an excellent sparkler. Very Good to Excellent. 87 points.

1999 Beaulieu Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford: Retail ~$20-25. I have mentioned here a few times about the insane deal I got when a buddy and I bought out the remains of a cellar from a guy who no longer could drink wine.  Over 24 cases of wine.  There was more BV than anything else and most of it was the Rutherford Cab.  Not the top of the line by any means, but one of their larger production wines.  Over the past 15 months or so, we have gone through most of these, with vintages starting back in the mid-1970’s.  This one was not bad, but clearly not the best we have had either.  It was very green (lots of green pepper and other vegetal elements), which was in stark contrast to the ’98.  Surprising since the ’98, an el Nino year, was a much riper, well-balanced wine.  Oh, well, it was OK with the skirt steak and corn on the cob.  Good. 85 points.

2010 Fess Parker Dry Riesling Rodney’s Vineyard: Retail ~$25. I paid $14 at the PLCB.  I have visited Fess Parker winery a couple of times and I used to watch Daniel Boone reruns every Saturday morning when I was a kid.  So, I have a soft spot for FP wines.  I have had several pinots and syrahs and even a couple of their chardonnays.  Good juice, nothing life-altering, but solid, very good wine. I was therefore a little bit excited when this showed up in the PLCB system.  A great nose of grapefruit and white peaches, with an acidity that smacks your mouth right away.  An above-average finish for sure, this is really good, particularly at the price point.  Very Good to Excellent. 89-90 points.


The Argyle Spirithouse is the obvious choice, since it was the highest scorer of the week, but I think it has to go to the Fess Parker Riesling since it was a complete surprise.

Tell me, what was your wine of the week?


About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
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4 Responses to What I have been drinking—7/19-7/26

  1. We just got a Melini as a gift. Now I know I will make sure to have it with food…:)


  2. Yes, certainly better with food (as I find most Chiantis). Cheers! How do you say that in German again?


  3. I opened a bottle of the 2006 Argyle Brut a couple weeks ago when some friends were over. It was very good – and my girlfriends all loved it! Sad that was my only bottle though!


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