Over the course of a week, I taste a bunch of wine, usually with friends, and almost always with my wife. This week, looking back, I opened a bunch of bottles that I worried should have been opened a lot sooner. Some good, some not so much. Here are some of the wines we tasted this last week that stood out:
2004 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay Nuits-Blanches au Bouge: Retail $35. The “boy, I am a bit worried about this wine” week continued up through Sunday night. Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat is a legend, and that legend was largely built on his Chardonnays. I was excited to get five bottles of this a few years ago, but unfortunately, a couple of the bottles were rather close to awful. This one was not. It was fabulous: bright lemon and mango with plenty of oak, but with enough acidity to balance it all out, Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2000 Domaine Roger Belland Santenay 1er Cru Beauregard: Retail $35. I have strayed away from Burgundy in recent years. Why? They have become quite expensive and increasingly rare. Even the once affordable Santenay has crept up in price. I purchased this several years ago and more or less forgot about it. I am less worried about holding on to reds, but 2000 was certainly not a great year in Burgundy. This was nonetheless wonderful. Classic secondary characteristics of earth, game, and a hint of violet. This is exactly what you hope to get in holding on to Burgundy for a while. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2012 Castello di Amorosa Sangiovese GIOIA: Retail $20. I reviewed this a couple of weeks ago HERE and the notes still ring true: It claimed right on the back label to be a great wine to sip out on the patio on a hot afternoon. Spot on: big ripe fruit and lot of fun without much contemplation. Would work extremely well with spicy tacos, Thai food, or pizza. Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2007 Demuth Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Demuth Vineyard: Retail $40. I bought a case of this wine a year and a half ago for $14/bottle from the PLCB and the previous 10 bottles we have gone through varied considerably. Some were on the verge of Outstanding, others were barely Good. This bottle fell closer to the latter. An initial nose of stewed fruit did not bode well and hinted that these wines were possibly mishandled at some point. (Really? A wine mishandled by the PLCB? Shocking.) The stewed note subsided a bit, and the wine eventually showed some nice red fruit. Good to Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2005 Hugel et Fils Pinot Gris Tradition: Retail $18. It is not often that I “forget” about an Alsatian wine, but since most Alsatian whites can last for quite some time, I was not all that worried. The color has darkened some since I last had one of these (in 2010) but still great litchee and tropical notes. Bone dry on the palate. Very Good, close to Outstanding. 87-89 Points.
2004 Leonard de Saint-Aubin Meursault: Retail $30. Other than the Au Bon Climat, this week I was most concerned about this wine, since Cellar Tracker (CT) users claim that it should have been consumed by 2010. I had a bottle back in February of this year and it was wonderful. This bottle? Not so much. Upon opening, I immediately picked up oxidation on the nose, but it was not all that dark in the glass. On the palate, the oxidation was still evident, but not as pronounced. I put a cork in it, threw it back in the fridge, wondering if I could use it even for cooking. The next night, on a whim, I poured a glass. Sure, there were still hints of that oxidation, but it was much, much improved. So much so that I had to fight my wife for the last glass. Unrated since I really have no idea what was going on here.
2007 Monmousseau Vouvray: Retail$18. This was another wine that I was a tad bit worried about this week. The producer is not known for making the finest of wines and the drinking window on CT closed last year. While the wine (100% Chenin Blanc) does not seem to be sliding downhill yet, I just don’t think it was all that far up the hill to begin with. Clean and refreshing with a touch of sweetness, but not all that complex. Good to maybe Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2007 Domaine de la Perrière Sancerre: Retail $22. I was a little worried about this wine since I have had it for a while and the last bottle was not all that great and 2007 was a bit of a tough year in the region. No need to worry here: the characteristic Sancerre lime and grapefruit with plenty of chalk minerality were all front and center. None were out of place, nor dominant, making this a classic style Sancerre. The finish, although memorable, was a bit brief and was the only element holding this wine back. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: This was certainly a trying week, opening many bottles that caused varying levels of concern (although that was not the “plan” for the week). Up until Sunday, the clear frontrunner for wine of the week was the 2000 Belland Santenay 1er Cru–it was just about everything you hope for in an aged Burgundy. On Sunday night, at the last minute, I decided to chill off the 2004 Au Bon Climat Nuits-Blanches Au Bouges. I certainly am glad I did–although I also threw in a back-up bottle of Melville Chard since I was less than confident with the ABC. Great flavors and near perfect oak integration, this was a wonderful bottle to finish off the week.
What was your wine of the week?
My wine of the week was 2008 Paritua Riesling from Central Otago – perfectly enjoyable in this weather…
I need to get me some more wines from that part of the world–I have woefully few….
Love Au Bon Climat and the way his wines age so gracefully. They usually age better than most of the wines to come out of Santa Barbara. Our wine of this week was the Domaine de Montille Bourgogne – excellent entry level Burgundy from one of the highest-quality producers. Cheers!
The good ones from ABC have been great. Nice to hear that you found an enjoyable (and affordable) Burgundy!
Thanks for the Pinot Gris recommendation! I discovered that varietal a few years back while I was in Oregon and really enjoyed it, but have never looked beyond my few Willamette favorites or even thought there would be an Alsatian version. Can’t wait to try and compare.
The Pinot Gris from Alsace is fabulous!
Claude Riffault La Noue Sancerre Rose 2011. I hadn’t had a Sancerre rose (disregard the lack of accent I’m on iPad) before. It was a perfect accompaniment to a panzanella salad. What a great discovery. Not sure about general availability of these wines this side of the pond.
I was worried about your experience with the ABC. But t turned out OK. We have very little access to their Chardonnays. When we do, I try to get a few. Never been anything short of very pleased.
Sancerre rosé is fabulous (made from Pinot Noir, after all)–wish there was more available over here. The ABC had me scared, but it was fabulous….