Over the course of a week, I taste a bunch of wine, usually with friends, and almost always with my wife. It was quite hot this week on the East Coast, so we certainly put a dent in my cellar’s Chardonnays and champagnes. Here are some of the wines we tasted this last week that stood out:
2009 Benoni Chardonnay “Petits Grains” Sonoma Coast: Retail $25? I picked this up from WineAccess a few years ago (for $16) and all-in-all, I have been rather pleased. Nice ripe lemon and pineapple fruit while also rather viscous with a honey aspect. This is not a delicate wall flower, but more of a confident, bold go-getter. Very Good 87-89 Points.
NV Bollinger Champagne Special Cuvée Brut: Retail $50. I am a huge fan of Bollinger—one of my favorite houses in Champagne. Sadly, I waited too long to pop this one as it was oxidized.
NV Collard-Chardelle Champagne Cuvée Prestige: Retail $30? I just brought this back from France last week, and I could not wait any longer to share a bottle with friends. Bright and lively initially, with considerable depth from the oak aging after the primary fermentation. I only wish I could have carried more home. Outstanding 90-92 Points.
2011 Paul Dolan Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc: Retail $12. I did not pay much for this wine, so I was not expecting a whole lot either. My expectations were met. Barely. Not a horrible or offensive wine, but there really was not much worthy of description. Frankly, I am surprised I have written this much already when one word could have handled it: Meh. Average. 78-80 Points.
2009 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Chardonnay Arthur: Retail $30. I bought six of these a couple years ago from the PLCB and the first two were rather uninspired. This bottle, however, was much more interesting. 2009 was a rather hot year for Oregon Chardonnay, which usually translates into rather fat wines, which lack acidity and complexity. The first two bottles certainly matched that profile, but this one was clearly better. I am not sure if this is due to a variation between bottles or if the wine has benefited from the added time in the cellar. Three bottles left to try and figure it out. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2006 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard: Retail $50. I have chronicled on this blog before my affinity for Clos Pepe fruit. I have also stated several times that Brian Loring does a fabulous job and even though most of his wines are consumed fairly early on, I think his wines hold up very nicely with some additional age. Thus, this bottle promised to be a home run. It was. Deep, rich fruit (but not overpowering) with secondary flavors bursting out on the mid palate. The finish was firm, enticing, and long. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2011 Mer Soleil Chardonnay Silver Unoaked: Retail $25. This seems to be another wine that has benefited some from a little extra time in the bottle. While the previous bottle was a bit disjointed and fat, this one was much more focused and clean: great initial fruit with nice acidity throughout. Still not what I thought I would be getting with an “unoaked’ Chardonnay, but we are getting a tad bit closer. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
NV Charles de Monrency Champagne Brut Réserve: Retail $30. I picked up a half a dozen of these from Wines Til Sold Out a few weeks ago for $20/bottle. Pleasantly surprised. While certainly no one’s idea of a blockbuster, the wine balanced acidity and fruit nicely. Not a lot of complexity, but it has bubbles and that’s a good thing in my book. Very Good. 85-87 Points.
2006 Roessler Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict: Retail $50. This wine followed the Loring Clos Pepe (above) and it was in no way a let down. Nice cherry fruit and a little bit of spice, the wine was even a bit fruitier than the Loring. Nice tartness with a wonderful finish. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: This week was a hot one in Philly, so we went through a bunch of Chardonnays. The thing about my cellar, I guess, is that, like most people, I try to get to my wines before it is too late (the Bollinger this week was a case where I certainly failed). It seems as though with white wine there tends to be a much smaller window and the chance for error/disappointment is much greater. With reds, I can push the envelope a little more and since I like my reds with perhaps more age on them than the average American wine drinker, I tend not to worry as much about those. The 2006 Loring Clos Pepe Pinot Noir was an excellent example. I would be willing to bet that Brian Loring’s biggest fans do not have any of this wine left since most of his wines are consumed very soon after bottling (and 2006 was not seen as a stellar year). I have stated before that I think his wines age quite well and this was a perfect example. And it was Clos Pepe. How could it not be wine of the week?
What was your wine of the week?
You inspired me to pick up the Loring Clos Pepe 2009 and will wait on them for anther year or two. My WOTW, well it was the wine of my three weeks at the lake, actually – 2002 Chateau Montelena Napa Estate Cab. If I could award a 200 point score I would for this impeccable cab. Hell, I am awarding it a 200! Runner up was a 1998 Wynn’s Coonawaara Shiraz Michael courtesy of a friend. Looking back heavier wines than the weather really called for but when you’re miles and miles from inventory, you dance with who you brung.
Great! I really like Brian’s wines and he is a particularly nice guy. Can’t ever go wrong with the Clos Pepe, my personal favorite!
That Montelena sounds particularly good!
Although perhaps not great for a hot night outside, I had a Ty Caton Cabernet Sauvignon this weekend that was absolutely delicious and went great with my cranked up A/C.
Sounds perfect (but you’re right—I don’t associate hot weather and cabernet)!
Our church wine group had a “Light and Refreshing” theme. Off the top of my head there were several Roses (Beiler-something from France was very good), a Reisling, a strange blend of Chard, Muscato, and Reisling; a Sauvignon Blanc, and others that I can’t recall.
Ha! Sounds like you have a lot of fun at those tastings!
My whine of the week is, “I miss my wine cellar.” (Living in transition, and the cellar is in the old house.)
Ouch! I can certainly empathize!