What We Have Been Drinking—5/12/2014

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:

NV Charles de Cazanove Champagne Brut: Retail $80. From a magnum. This was certainly a crowd pleaser (but when is a magnum not fun?). One of those champagnes that seem to hit it just right: tartness in balance with the fruit, just the right amount of brioche, and enough of a backbone to hold up to most dishes. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.

2010 Feiler-Artinger Spätlese Quartett: Retail $15?. A blend of four grapes: Welschriesling, Chardonnay, Traminer, and Neuburger. We picked up two bottles of this in Austria three years ago and had I known then it would turn into this, I would have bought a lot more. Wow. We were really happy with this. Sweet but not unctuous, acidic but not tart. Simply put, right in my wheelhouse.Outstanding. 89-91 Points.

1998 Gosset Champagne Celebris Rosé: Retail $120. I bought three of these a while ago, and was sitting on them for some time, not sure of the right time to pull the trigger–pretty much the story of my life. I finally decided to pop this with some good friends, since, well, is there a better reason? Little more than a sigh upon opening and a a pale salmon in the glass. On the nose a bit of that “old” Champers musty smell but on the palate, wow. Tons of red fruit and a finish that lasted well beyond the norm. Outstanding+. 93-95 Points.

2007 Maria & Manfred Hick Riesling Smaragd Ried Stiegelstall zu Arnsdorf: Retail $25? I have a bit of history with this wine: Three years ago, I visited a teeny restaurant in Salzburg, which served these wines almost exclusively. I thought they were fantastic, so I bought a bunch. Fast forward three years later, we popped this after just having returned from Salzburg again (with several more bottles of a more recent vintage). A bit of petrol, honeydew, and lime. Quite rich with a full mouthfeel. Acidity still exceptional. Two more bottles to go and I’m in absolutely no hurry to pop them any time soon (much to the dismay of my wife). This is fantastic. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.

2007 Penner-Ash Pinot Noir: Retail $45. Popped and did a little Anduze decant (pouring one glass right away to get some oxygen into the bottle, and letting the bottle sit for a bit before serving–you also get a little taste this way). That first glass was very tight even austere to start. Really austere. With time, some fruit came back but I was worried: I thought I had waited too long to open this bottle. After that first glass, I was planning to go through the other two bottles in the cellar rather quickly, maybe even that same night. My wife’s cousin was in town, though, and he’s not a huge drinker so I thought I would take it easy and not appear to be the raging alcoholic that many think I am. Good thing. The fruit came back gradually, but it never got huge. I don'[t like using the word “Burgundian” (it is so over-played) but that really applies here. ’07 was not ’08 in the Willamette, but I really love the ’07 wines from winemakers that know what they are doing. And Lynn really knows what she is doing. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.

2012 Saintsbury Pinot Noir Vincent Vin Gris: Retail $20. We had two bottles of this over the weekend, and while the first bottle was a bit disjointed, it was much better the second time around. A bit of fruit and a ton of acidity. It is listed at $20 retail which is a bit high, perhaps, but it was on sale for $8 at the PLCB. $8? Easy. Buy a case. And I did. Very Good. 86-88 Points.

NV Peter Weber Crémant d’Alsace: Retail $22. I had picked up a bottle of this a few months ago, liked it, and was meaning to go back and get some more. When it went on sale for $10 at the PLCB, I had my motivation: I bought a case. Tart and to the point with a nutty finish. This is a solid effort–there will be no confusing it with champagne, but at this price? Easy buy. Very Good. 87-89 Points.

20140512-092554.jpgWINE OF THE WEEK(s): This is the first “What We Have Been Drinking” in a couple of weeks–we have been traveling a bit and I have also been trying to make my way through some of the samples down in the cellar. Looking back over these wines, we certainly popped some good ones. The 2007 Penner-Ash was fantastic, and it caused me to recall the time I was able to spend with Lynn and Ron Penner-Ash at the 2012 Wine Bloggers Conference. The two Austrian wines also served as memory joggers as we bought them a few years ago in Salzburg.

All worthy choices.

In a week with two really good champagnes, though, they did not stand a chance. The Cazanove was great, but the 1998 Gosset Champagne Celebris Rosé was other-worldly, and had some memories of its own attached to it. I should also mention the 2004 Moncassin Three Sisters Chardonnay that I had at a special dinner on Friday. I doubt I have had a better Chardonnay that didn’t have the words “Montrachet” and “Grand Cru” on the bottle, but, alas, I did not rate the wine at the time, so it is ineligible for WOTW (maybe the person who brought the wine to dinner will bring another “for review”?).

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 Alsace, Austria, Champagne, Chardonnay, Crémant, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Rosé, Wine and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to What We Have Been Drinking—5/12/2014

  1. timmilford says:

    Jeff, my WOTW was a very easy choice: the 2005 Graacher Himmerlreich Riesling Auslese from J. J. Pruem. Stunning, gloriously sweet but matched with a pronounced acidity that balanced it out brilliantly. Superbly long finish too. Served it with some home-made pate…


  2. mrsugarbears says:

    Sadly, I have been off the sauce for a couple of weeks now. I will be able to have something this weekend and I can’t wait! The ladies and I will be walking/running for charity Friday night. It seems appropriate to open something worthy of not drinking for 4 weeks and walking/running for charity. 🙂


  3. lulu says:

    My favorite was a malbec, Llama.


  4. What a week, wow. Not bad. Both Austrians sound pretty intriguing!! I’m drinking way not enough Austrian wines…


  5. Sounds like a fun week!


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