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. These are some of the wines that we had after my desperation run to Costco.
2008 Amelle Buck Hill Zinfandel: Retail $24. We brought six bottles of this with us from Philly to consume while we were on the West Coast. I made sure to decant this for at least an hour each time. I really enjoy this wine and it remains one of my favorite Zins ever, but I have not experienced the same level of fruit as I did with the first bottle I had (the fruit came out after the half consumed bottle spent a night in the fridge). Eric says this wine will really benefit from some cellar time. Still, this really is fantastic–a real pinot lover’s type of Zin. Outstanding. 92 Points.
2008 De Stefano Songo (Cabernet Franc): Retail $36. My sister-in-law had this wine in her wine fridge, so although I did not buy this wine at Costco, we did consume it after going, so I include it here. Had we tried this before I might have at least delayed the Costco insurrection–this wine was fabulous. Dark fruit and great structure, this wine was screaming for some red meat and I tried to listen since it deserved it. Very nice finish, really superb. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
N.V. Kirkland Brand Champagne: Retail $20. Despite my unpleasant experience with their Chardonnay, I decided to go back to the well again for the champagne. My reasoning was rather straightforward: the Costco buyers/tasters might not be the best assessors of wine and the Americans who make their chard know this (and therefore take advantage of the situation to produce complete plonk). The French who make the champagne likely also know this, but they are required by the government to meet minimum standards before it can be called ‘Champagne’. Luckily, I was right. This champagne was bright amd clean with some nice citrus notes. There was not an overabundance of the biscuit/brioche characteristics that one finds in a lot of champagne, but this was still a solid effort. Having said all of that, even I will admit that part of the point in serving a champagne is that it is indeed ‘champagne’. The fact that this bottle also has ‘Kirkland’ on the label diminishes that snob aspect a great deal. Good to Very Good. 85-87 Points.
2010 Morgan Highland Chardonnay: Retail $25. Another wine that we purchased on our trip to Costco. I have really enjoyed Morgan Pinot in the past, but this was a bit of a mess. There was big oak up front followed by a shallow mid-palate and an overly tart finish. It seems as though this wine really can’t make up its mind as to what it wants to be: a big oaky Cali Chard or a fresh tart old world style. Good. 83-85 Points.
2010 La Crema Chardonnay: Retail $15-20. After drinking the wines I had before I made the Costco run, just about anything would taste good. This wine had some nice fruit and some decent acidity, but it is nothing to write home about, yet it was certainly a step up from the earlier wines. Good to Very Good. 85-87 Points.
2010 Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Les Sétilles: Retail $18. For those that are part of the ABC crowd (‘Anything But Chardonnay’) because of the oak treatment it has historiacally received in California, they should look to this bargain priced wine from the heart of France. Sharp and clean with great citrus notes, this wine would never be confused with the finest white Burgundies, but neither would the price. For $15 at Costco, this could be an everyday choice (that is if the Costcos near my house were allowed to sell wine). Good to Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2010 Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Gris: Retail $12-15. This was one of the ‘rescue bottles’ that we picked up at Costo (see HERE). I decided to pull it out with the Jjigae (a spicy Korean soup). For some reason, my mother-in-law has been ‘protecting’ me from jjigae since she felt like it would be too spicy for the white guy that I am. It also took a few years to convince her that I knew how to eat chopsticks (my seat at the table was always ‘marked’ by the presence of a fork). The wine, despite being completely dry, held up well to the jjigae. Some nice tropical fruit and a bit of heft, the melon in the wine counter-balanced the spice nicely (but to be honest, the jjigae was not all that spicy–I was actually a bit disappointed). Very Good to Excellent. 87-89 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: I debated quite a bit about the WOTW this time around. Clearly, the Amelle Zin continues to shine and would be the wine of the week just about every week that I have one, but I decided to go outside the box since I knew the Amelle would be awesome. I really considered the Kirkland Champagne, but even writing that makes me want to go and take a shower (I also tried to saber this bottle, but I ended up breaking one of my sister-in-law’s expensive glasses and looked like a total schmuck). So this week I am going with the DeStefano Sogno. Not only was it a very good wine, but drinking it caused me to visit the winery (and buy another bottle). It also came from the same cellar that caused us to run to Costco mid-week.
What was your wine of the week?