What We Have Been Drinking–New Year’s Eve Edition

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.

20121230-191356.jpgWINE 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?

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.
This entry was posted in Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to What We Have Been Drinking–New Year’s Eve Edition

  1. talkavino says:

    Seriously? That Kirkland bottle was that strong? Now I’m intrigued and might have to take a trip to Costco in CT which I know sells wine, just to get that bottle and try to saber it…
    I had couple of good wines last week – E1 Locations by Dave Phinney was interesting – not amazing, but pretty solid effort, but then 2010 Neverland Santa Barbara Red by Field Recordings was outright delicious.


  2. I have some of the Kirkland to open tonight. Will compare it to some of the other Champagnes I have! My prediction is that it’s going to be better than just about anything else in that price range, but won’t make me forget about Krug.


    • So what did you think? Did you have the Kirkland?


      • Started feeling sick early evening and knew I was only going to have 1-2 drinks last night. Wanted to make sure I rang in the new year right, so opened a bottle of NV Philippe Prie which I’ve had before and remembered to be excellent. Was disappointed in lack of fruit, but it may be because I was sick. I have a few more bottles of it to try when I feel better. Will open the Kirkland at same time!


      • Should have followed your plan–we got back from Seattle yesterday afternoon and I was feeling sick. We still went out and had a good time, but I feel like total crap today….


  3. I really like the DiStefano wines. I’ve been pleased with all of the ones I have tried. Happy New Year!


  4. aFrankAngle says:

    We had two bottles from our Peachy Canyon wine club … Mustang Springs Zin (outstanding) and a Malbec (a pleasant surprise) …. Retail winner of the week was Allegrini Palazzo della Torre.

    Happy New Year!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.