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:
2002 Argyle Pinot Noir Spirithouse Reserve Series: Retail $75+. Sunday night and I did not have a wine of the week. I did not know what to do, so I did what every other true blooded American would do–I stacked the deck. This wine was phenomenal–rich depth, complex flavors, incredible finish. Perhaps the best Pinot I’ve had this year. Incredible, Outstanding, Phenomenal (OK, that’s enough). 94-96 Points.
2004 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay Nuits-Blanches au Bouge: Retail $40. There are some times in your life that you have regrets: There was that person in high school that you always wanted to ask out but didn’t. You were away on a business trip and missed your son’s first home run. Or you wait just a bit too long to pull the cork on a great wine. There is little doubt in my mind that this wine was once great—it has great weight and flavors. It is also a dark golden color that reveals the sad truth: The wine is oxidized. I can’t help but think “If only I had opened this sooner….” Not rated.
2010 Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Rosé Les Baronnes: Retail $20. At the last minute, we found out that friends were coming over. It just so happens that those friends were with us when we bought this bottle of wine at the winery in Sancerre. We rented a house together in Sarlat-la-Canéda in the Dordogne, France. Simply put, this was a fantastic rosé, one of the best I have had in quite some time. Certainly, the company and memories played a large role. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2011 Brack Mountain Winery Tramonto Rosé of Pinot Noir: Retail $20. Picked up a bottle of this at the Whole Foods in Ann Arbor for Memorial Day picnic while visiting the family. I went to Whole Foods since another blogger out there (Whine and Cheers for Wine) recently landed a job with Whole Foods and I thought this was a way to support him from afar. I was craving some warm weather (it barely got into the 60’s while we were there) and nothing says warm weather like rosé (although I have been a long time traveller on the rosé all-year-’round-bus). I also love me some pinot, so I thought this would be perfect (I even passed on a promising Tavel in favor of this bouteille). Strawberry and watermelon on the nose, but not as much fruit on the palate. Not bad, but not the type of wine that I am going to run out and buy again either. Well, if I am visiting the family again anytime soon I will rush out to buy anything to drink. So other than that…. Good maybe Very Good. 85-87 Points.
2011 Domaine des Carteresses Tavel: Retail $18. I know a lot of people find French wines very difficult to understand. As I have mentioned before, I started learning about wine while first studying and then working in France, so I am perhaps a little less intimidated than your average wino when it comes to French juice. For me, there are a few hard rules in French wine: 1. If it says “Premier Cru” or “Grand Cru” on a bottle of Burgundy or Champagne–the wine will dent your wallet and tickle your taste buds (notice I did not include Bordeaux in this group); 2. Perhaps the best place to buy French wine is in the grocery stores of Paris; and 3. When you are looking for a rosé, if the wine is from Tavel, just buy it–it will be great. Nice red fruit, great acidity, and quite a bit of heft. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
2009 Maria & Manfred Hick Zweigelt Hadmar III v. Kuenring Alte Reben: Retail $20? Classic Zweigelt–good red plums and cherries with pepper and spice. Great tannic structure that help cut through the lamb beautifully. Above all, though, this wine brought back memories of the time that I spent in Salzburg–I found a little hole in the wall restaurant run by the beautiful and personable Andrea Hick, cousin of the winemaker. Fond memories and a wonderful wine. Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2011 Mer Soleil Chardonnay Silver Unoaked: Retail $25. Alright, I admit it, I bought these because of the bottle—a gray ceramic that certainly is out of the ordinary. The wine was interesting, tons of competing flavors including citrus, honey, and peach. There was also a viscous aspect that was difficult to place. Overall, I certainly liked it, but it was not what I expected–I was thinking it would be a cleaner, more focused wine. Still, Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2006 Sans Permis Chardonnay La Chanson Argentee De Cuillere: Retail $40 (?). I have written about this wine several times now. I have called it my “Divine Intervention Wine”. I have suggested that I might cry when the last bottle is drained. I have suggested that both of you reading this blog should buy it should it ever come up on Last Bottle again. I have compared it to a rich Meursault. I am running out of clever things to say, thus I am drinking this up, and loving every drop. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: As I mentioned above, I stacked the deck here—on Sunday, as I started getting this post together, I realized that I really did not have a wine that stood out above the others. Sure, there was the Sans Permis, but I had been around that block several times. There was also the Bourgeois Sancerre Rosé, but that was also consumed on Sunday night, right before the 2002 Argyle Spirithouse Pinot Noir (how’s that for really stacking the deck?). I thought the Argyle would be good, but I had no idea that it would be this good.
What was your Wine of the Week?