What We Have Been Drinking–4/1/2013 Back in Philly

After a week on the West Coast, we are back on the “Right” Coast and all that entails. I left my total POS bike behind as well as my father-in-law’s eclectic collection of wine. Most of the time we visit, I feel guilty drinking his wine, so I usually head out to the local wine stores (which we do not have here in Philly) to pick up a few to drink. This trip I hit both Beverages and More and Costco. Needless to say, we did manage to go through a few wines….

2010 Beringer Knight’s Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Retail $25 (?). Costco $15. Decent nose of raspberry and mocha, but does not deliver on the palate. Thin and washed out. Meh. Average to Good. 82-84 Points.

2010 Cornerstone Pinot Noir: Retail $50. Great aromatics, but a bit thin, the flavors are all there, maybe it just needs a little time in the bottle to come together. We popped this right across the street from Cornerstone at Bistro Jeanty. Very Good. 87-89 Points.

2010 Crooked Path Paso Robles Red Wine Blend: Retail $35? I went to the local Beverages and More (BevMo!) and they were having their annual (?) 5¢ sale–you buy one bottle at the regular price and the second is 5¢. I did something I rarely do–I relied on the score for this wine. It received a 94 from my boy Wilfred Wong. Wilfred, as I have mentioned before is simply one of the nicest guys in wine. When I ran into him again at the Wine Blogger’s Conference, he actually said he remembered me (about 12 years earlier, at one of his tastings, I informed him that the bottle of Krug [$130] was corked). Well, Wilfred gave this Crooked Path a 94. Wow. I felt compelled to buy it. Popped and poured and I immediately questioned Wilfred’s analysis–the wine both smelled and tasted like black cherry Kool-Aid–almost to a tee. Oh boy. I was depressed both for being duped by a score and having an entire bottle to go through. So I let it sit.  Good decision.

On second sip, it developed quite a bit of complexity and secondary characteristics. This wine changed more in the 45 minute interlude more than any wine I have ever tried. It went from pour down the sink god awful to contemplating buying more. Truly astounding. Excellent. 90-92 Points.

2008 Fess Parker Ashley’s Chardonnay: Retail $40 (?). I have visited Fess Parker a couple of times and it is certainly a bit on the cheesy side–big tasting room with lots of merchandise (most containing a coonskin cap insignia since Fess Parker played Daniel Boone). I have enjoyed the wines, despite all of this over the years.

This wine, despite being noticeably on the dark side was wonderful–buttery and rich without being a Cali oak monster. The tropical fruit was nicely balanced by the acidity. Excellent. 90-92 Points.

2011 Francis Ford Coppola Sofia Rosé: Retail $18, Costco $12. One of the bottles I picked up in a wine emergency, this is certainly serviceable. My buddy over at Rozca, would likely balk at the over $10 tariff, however. Ample fruit and a bit of acidity, but lacking in depth and mid-palate balance. Not a regrettable purchase, but not running out for more, either. Good. 85-87 Points.

1993 Robert Mondavi Zinfandel Unfiltered: Retail ??? Original price $18. This was a bit of a surprise. Initially, the fruit was a bit muted, but eventually opened up wonderfully. Great balance throughout with a long, lingering finish. This is exactly why I like older Zins. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.

N.V. Pierre Morlet 1er Cru Champagne: Much more fruit than I expected–mostly green apple and a bit of citrus. Great mousse and depth, but missing the yeastiness that I associate with top level Champagnes. Very Good. 87-89 Points.

2010 Novy Viognier: Fruity, flowery nose, on the palate, this is one of the more acidic Viogniers that I have ever had. Balanced out with a tiny bit of residual sugar, this was fantastic with my mother-in-law’s shrimp tempura. Very Good. 87-89 Points.

2009 Willamette Valley Vineyards Barrel Select Pinot Noir: Retail $20 (?). Costco $15. I have been to Oregon a couple of times now and it seems as though Willamette Valley Vineyards makes a big push to get noticed (they were very present at both the International Pinot Noir Celebration in 2010 and the Wine Blogger’s Conference in 2012). This Pinot is fine but unspectacular. Light in color and in body with little on the nose. The palate is fairly better with some nice acidity and stewed raspberry. OK, even “good”. Was not expecting more at this price (and did not get it). Good. 84-86 Points.

2011 Zinnia Edna Valley Reserve Chardonnay: Retail $30. Another wine highly rated by Wilfred Wong (93), this wine suffered since it followed the much bigger Fess Parker. Nonetheless, this was bright and lively with great grapefruit and pineapple. A solid wine for sure, and a deal at $15. $30? Ummmm….. Very Good. 87-89 Points.

20130402-091925.jpgWINE OF THE WEEK: It was an odd week since we were in California at the in-laws house and I did not have access to the cellar. With one exception: The 1993 Mondavi Zinfandel. Even in a “normal” week, this would get serious consideration for WOTW, but we popped this the night we got back, at our neighborhood restaurant (that still allows us to BYO even though they now have a liquor license–thanks guys!). I was not expecting much particularly since I thought I was buying a Cab when I got these. Wow, what a surprise! So glad I have another bottle!

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 Cabernet Sauvignon, Champagne, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Rosé, Tasting Notes, Viognier, Wine, Zinfandel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to What We Have Been Drinking–4/1/2013 Back in Philly

  1. talkavino says:

    That 1993 Zin sounds very good… I guess my wine of the week will go to 2011 Antica Terra Erratica Rose, But then there were Shaya Habis, 1997 Heitz, 2008 Ben Rye, 2011 Old Potrero red … I’m not good at picking wine of the week… I can may be only do a wine of the month…


  2. Stefano says:

    Very nice reviews, Jeff: I am tempted by the Mondavi Zin (although I am not much of a Zin guy generally…) and intrigued by your story about the Crooked Path, what a transformation in the time you let it breathe! You are broadening my wine horizons! 🙂


  3. So THAT’S why my grandma loved her white Zinfandel in the 90’s so much!


  4. Duff's Wines says:

    Good reviews. Especially interested in the older zin experience. I’ve always tried to gulp them down before they age too much. Will let a few of my hardier ones sit for awhile. Wine of the week for me was a local Niagara wine – Tawse Lauritzen Vineyard Pinot Noir ’08. Could have used a few more years or time to sit/decant. But this place is starting to release admirable Pinot.


  5. aFrankAngle says:

    Although Fess Parker’s tasting room is a bit commercialized, sitting outside was one of my favorite places!


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