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:
2005 Anam Cara Pinot Noir Estate Reserve: Retail $45. Very dark. Really dark. The nose did not really remind me of pinot either–dark red fruit–no cherry, no earth just deep brooding fruit. On the palate, the fruit has really mellowed but still a stewed nature that also screamed Syrah instead of Pinot. A perplexing wine. Still Very Good, but not what I had expected or hoped. 86-88 Points.
2006 Arcadian Syrah Westerly Vineyard: Retail $30. Popped and poured. This wine took a little while to get going, but once it did, it was fantastic. Certainly more of a reserved Old World style, but the fruit seemed anxious to burst out and spread its wings a bit. The wine was also quite versatile: it worked well with my grilled salmon as well as my wife’s BLT at our local BYO restaurant. The rest of the bottle did not work quite as well later watching the game—the wine was still Outstanding, but my team was pathetic. 91-93 Points.
2003 La Corte Ré Salento IGT: Retail $45. (65% Negroamaro/35% Primitivo) Pulled this out to have with Korean Barbecue and it certainly held its own. Luscious red fruit, even ten years out, balanced, however, with great acidity and alcohol levels in check. While it struggled a bit with the heat, it was as close to a “good” match as I have found for Korean BBQ. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2007 CedarCreek Estate Winery Pinot Noir Platinum Okanagan Valley: Retail $35. I was not quite sure what to expect here, but my wife picked this up at the airport while passing through Vancouver. I have had very little experience with Canadian Pinot, but this did not really float my boat all that much, and certainly did not seem to justify the tariff she paid. There was some muted sour cherry fruit that gradually improved, but there just was not enough of it to balance out the acidity. Good, maybe on the verge of Very Good by the end, but certainly not more than that. 85-87 Points.
NV Deligeroy Crémant de Loire Rosé Brut: Retail $18. I had a conversation the other day about ‘house wines’. I proclaimed rather boastfully that there was no such thing as a house wine chez le drunken cyclist. Not really sure why I should boast about that, since it is a rather stupid thing about which to boast. Particularly when it is not true. This is our sparkling rosé ‘house wine’. It is affordable (i.e., under $20), very good, and easy to get (although it does involve a trip to either New Jersey or Delaware–surprise, surprise there is not a great selection of crémants at the PLCB). Very Good. 87-89 Points.
NV Jean-Noël Haton Champagne Brut Classic: Retail $40. I bumped this one up a point since it showed a little more depth than the previous bottles. More creaminess and slightly less tart than I remember. Very Good could be Excellent in time? 88-90 Points.
1988 Inglenook Merlot Reserve: Retail ??? My lovely wife seemed to have a better time with this than did I, the way she was sucking it down (but that could have been a product of the day she had at work). The cork was a disaster, but no apparent oxidation. The nose was all tart cherry and a bit of mocha and heat. On the palate that tart cherry started to scream and yell with not much to back her up. I guess this was like Joan Jett today–interesting for a while, makes you reflect a bit, but in the end just old. Good to Very Good. 85-87 Points.
2006 Kaiken Malbec Ultra: Retail $18. Alright, this is not my style of wine—I usually go for the shy librarian type, that takes a bit of coaxing to open up. This was ready to go from the moment she touched my lips—a bunch of dark brooding fruit and heft. It was rather difficult to pick up anything more after the initial wave since my senses were already overloaded. Certainly fun to drink, but I am more than a bit ashamed that I rather liked it—I hope my next bottle of Pinot understands. Good to Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2009 MacLaren Syrah Samantha’s Vineyard: Retail $35. Popped and poured. I picked this up from the good people at Last Bottle for a steal once you throw in the credits I had. I also told a bunch of people on my block to buy the wine, so I was a little nervous when one of the neighbors seemed to indicate that he was not all that enthralled with it. I worry a bit too much most of the time. Nice fruit, a bit on the stewed side, with really good acidity and a solid finish. We drank the wine over the course of a couple hours and it really opened up by the end. Very Good now but that might go up. 87-89 Points.
2002 Pierre Sparr Riesling Mambourg Alsace Grand Cru: Retail $30. I have had this wine for a while and this was our last bottle. The quite dark golden color certainly was revealing its age. On the nose, a bunch of fruit (apple and peach) and minerals, even a touch of petrol. On the palate, quite unctuous and full with an acidity that cries out for food. Very Good, but we certainly did not pop this one too soon. Paired with Haemul Pajeon (Korean Seafood Pancakes). 88-90 Points.
2011 St. Supéry Vineyards Moscato: Retail $15. First, it had a synthetic “cork” which always ticks me off—just use a flippin’ screw cap! Honestly, are there still people out there that prefer the synthetic “cork” to the screw cap (other than the synthetic “cork” manufacturers)? After that, this wine is both too sweet and too high in alcohol (11%)—so it does not work as an apéritif all that well, nor would it be a good hot-Saturday-on-the-porch wine. So when do you drink it? Well, I drank it in the man cave by myself, hoping that no one would find out that I actually kind of liked it. I guess, in the end, it is rather like riding a moped—lots of fun until your friends see you. Good to Very Good. 85-87 Points.
2006 Sans Permis Chardonnay La Chanson Argentee De Cuillere: Retail $35(?). I have had this wine countless times and it continues to impress. Just fabulous. I might cry when they are all gone. Or just buy something else. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Much to my wife’s dismay, I talk about her from time to time on this blog. She hates when I do that, so I won’t do it again here–I only bring her up because she is of Korean descent and makes a really good Korean Barbecue. For the (almost) twelve years we have been married, I have been on a quest to find the “perfect” pairing. Well, there isn’t one. Given the three main issues: beef, sugar, and spice–it is very difficult to find a wine that will compete with all three. I have found a few that will handle two out of the three (most Alsatian whites), but not all three. I never thought I would find a good match from the boot of Italy, but the 2003 La Corte Ré Salento IGT was certainly the best red I have found thus far. Not overly tannic, with great fruit and acidity, it really was a fine match. Some friends of mine who are fans of Italian wines certainly will relish in my WOTW, but that’s just fine with me.
What was your Wine Of The Week?