What We Have Been Drinking–6/3/2013

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.

20130603-085037.jpg2011 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.

20130603-085024.jpgWINE 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?

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 Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sancerre, Wine, Zweigelt and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to What We Have Been Drinking–6/3/2013

  1. asueba says:

    I am inspired by the way you are posting the wines. I will be starting to do the same because I have too many pictures and notes. Thank you.


  2. winingdaily says:

    mine was a Chalone Pinot Noir which I’m writing up as we speak. Wow. delish.


  3. I agree that the Argyle Pinot is amazing, but at the price, it is really a milestone anniversary wine for me. Did you find it below retail?


  4. vinovintage1 says:

    Ok, on a mission to find the Argyle this Summer…though don’t think we didn’t catch you directing that line right at us about the San Permis…”both of you reading this…” 😛 Lol…but seriously, love your writing, 😉


  5. What a great excuse to drink (not to mention buy) a great bottle of wine… “Really, honey, it’s for the blog. Otherwise I won’t have anything to write about!” Oh, wait… did I book two weeks of cycling in Scandinavia for the same reason? 🙂


  6. Frank says:

    Spirithouse rocked! Thanks for sharing. Wish we could have lingered over it a bit longer.


  7. talkavino says:

    Jeff, so if describe a 94-96 pointer as “Incredible, Outstanding, Phenomenal”, I’m really curious to see what you would say about 98-, 99- or (God forbid!) a 100- pointer? 🙂

    My wine of the week was 2011 Haute Cabriere Pinot Noir Unwooded from South Africa – absolutely delicious.


  8. I’ve been away for a bit and its so great to be back & read your posts!… especiallywhat you’re drinking 😉


  9. I see you have jumped on the Rose’ wagon with the rest of us – love that stuff!!! I may have to find a bottle of Argyle to try – that sounds scrumptious! (Maybe my distributor will carry it!)


    • Oh, I have been on that wagon for quite some time—you are right, scrumptious. It is right up there with sparkling wine in versatility when pairing with food. And I love me some bubbles!


  10. I tried a bottle of that Mer Soleil Chardonnay Silver Unoaked a few months ago. I also bought it for the cool stone bottle. And I had a similar impression — expected a clean, wet stone aspect. But overall, it wasn’t bad at all. And the bottle is really cool. Salud!


  11. gabe says:

    Have you tried Roco? It’s the new winery by Rollin Soles, who was the winemaker at Argyle since 1987. He launched his own label in 2009, and left Argyle earlier this year. He is making really fantastic pinot for half the price of the Argyle stuff. Meanwhile, Argyle is still being run by some of the best young winemakers in the valley


    • I have certainly heard of it (I was surprised when he left Argyle—he had been there forever, right?). I doubt I can get any here in the PA wine wasteland, but I will try!


    • SAHMmelier says:

      Great stuff! I got to chat with Rollin earlier this year and taste his wines. My piece about it was on Back 9 network and his Facebook page. Great guy and delicious wines!


  12. Again…a great post. I have had the Mer Soleil also. A great wine but agree with you…


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