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:
2011 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay Santa Barbara County:Retail $20. I was really impressed with this wine–great tropical nose and fantastic fruit on the palate. A hint of oak, but still bright and clean. This is easily Very Good (perhaps more) and I will try and convince the wife that we need a few bottles. If it were not from the PLCB, I would be more excited about it. 88-90 Points.
2005 Château Beaulieu Comtes de Tastes:Retail $20. I was not quite sure what to expect with this wine since the Cellar Tracker reviews were all over the place on this wine. There was good fruit and balance with a bit of back end structure left as well. There is no rush to drink this wine, but it is certainly doing well right now. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2007 Demuth Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Demuth Vineyard: Retail $35. I bought a case of this for a killer price and this was my last bottle. The first few bottles were great, but those that followed were less than stellar. This was a return to the beginning. After being open for a bit, great fruit and complexity. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2006 Flowers Chardonnay Andreen-Gale Sonoma Coast:Retail $50. This might be on the precipice of “waiting too long.” Fantastic, really fantastic nose of lemon, pineapple, and vanilla (and maybe some hibiscus), on the palate there is no disappointment either–good fruit, great complexity, and outstanding acidity. There is the slightest nuttiness on the finish, however, that seems a bit out of place. Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
NV Jaffelin Crémant de Bourgogne Blanc de Blancs Brut:Retail $20? I bought a case of this from Wines Til Sold Out to have around for Kir Royales. I might have to re-evaluate that plan since this wine is very good on its own. I am not typically a fan of many Blanc de Blancs since I feel that they lack the backbone to hold up to cuisine with anything that resembles gusto. This BdB, though, would likely fare better than most. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2010 Melini Chianti Borghi d’Elsa: Retail $15. I bought a case of this a while ago since it was on sale for a great price ($7) and I wanted to have some pizza/pasta wine around. This wine fills that need to a T–not complex, but some nice Chianti character with black cherry and a bit of earth. Good to maybe Very Good. 85-87 Points.
2007 Melville Chardonnay Estate: Retail $25. I have had a bunch of this wine now and this might be the best bottle so far–great fruit of pineapple, vanilla and maybe some hazelnut. On the palate near perfect balance between the fruit, the oak, and the acidity. If you are a Chard lover and you have not had any Melville, you are missing out on a fantastic wine (and its great QPR). Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2009 Domaine Pignier Côtes du Jura: Retail ~$25. This was our third bottle of this and there is certainly a lot of Brett in this wine, which I do not mind (but my wife tends to hate). Hence, the wine comes off as a bit rustic (maybe overly so), but there are nice notes of raspberry and mushroom. This is really not a wine to be consumed on its own–it needs some food. Think grilled chicken or pork. Good to Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2008 Domaine Vindemio Côtes du Ventoux Regain:Retail $25? Dark, really dark. Somewhere between ginger ale and coca-cola dark. A rich, Vin Santo-esque nose and a rich, unctuous mouth feel. Sweetness and complexity on the palate–I do not think that this wine is over the hill, but it has started its way down the other side, certainly. Drink soon. As in today. Very Good. 88-90 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK:It has actually been a couple of weeks since I have done a “What We Have Been Drinking” post. We have been to a couple of parties where the wine has been less than memorable and I have conducted a few tastings–those write-ups should appear soon–so our personal consumption has been down a bit. Looking back at our empties the past two weeks, the Chardonnays clearly stand out. While the Au Bon Climat and the Flowers were both Excellent, the 2007 Melville Estate Chardonnay nudged them out for the top honors this week. Melville is one of my favorite producers in the Sta. Rita Hills appellation–located on Route 246, about halfway between Buellton and Lompoc, just East of both Babcock and Clos Pepe. We happened on a private tasting a few years ago and we have been fans ever since. Despite being six years past the harvest, this wine is not showing any signs of slowing down–very happy that we have another two bottles.
What was your wine of the week?