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 Argyle Riesling: Retail $22. I bought a case of this a year and a half ago and the first few bottles were less than compelling. Yes, there was fruit, but not all that much in the depth department. The last half-dozen bottles, however, have really been a pleasure to drink—nice acidity and citrus fruit. This wine works well on itself or with some lighter dishes. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2011 Axis Mundi Grenache/Syrah Windmill Vineyard: Retail $29. This is a very interesting wine. Very light in color, perhaps even lighter than a Pinot. On the nose, there is smoke, cherry, and a bit of blueberry. On the palate, this certainly is reminiscent of a Pinot, but with a slightly different flavor profile. The acidity is off the charts and thus, this wine screams for food. I really like this wine and only wish that I had bought more. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
2006 Campion Pinot Noir: Retail $35 (paid $15 at WTSO.com). I am not sure if I would be as enamored with this wine had I paid retail, but at the Wines Til Sold Out price of $15, this really is a no-brainer. A bit of cherry-cola and more than ample earth, this wine still has good fruit and Pinot character. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
NV Cave des Producteurs de Vouvray C. Greffe Rosé: Retail $22. I am a big fan of this winery and when I see their wines over here, I can’t help but buy them. This is a solid every day kind of sparkler with festive fruit and an active effervescence. Always a crowd pleaser, particularly if the crowd is but me. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2006 Melville Pinot Noir Carrie’s: Retail $65. We bought this bottle during a visit to the winery several years ago, and I have been able to hold off until now. I did take a bit of flak from my wife once she realized that we still had this bottle, fueling her favorite criticism: I wait far too long to drink “the good stuff”. Luckily, it usually works out once she takes her first sip. The red berry fruit (and a bit of dark fruit) surprisingly jump out of the glass and dominate the palate. Some earthiness there, once you dig a bit past the fruit, leading to a lingering finish. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2009 Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen Riesling Eroica: Retail $25. I took this to my wife’s work group picnic, but I didn’t want to. My wife insisted that I bring something “decent”, however, since “everyone knows about you.” [I am pretty sure that she meant that they all know that I am in to wine, but I dared not ask for a clarification.] The problem? A “really good” wine would likely be lost on the crowd (and half of the bottle would end up in one guy’s glass—you know the one—the guy who fills it to the rim, then leaves it half full when he leaves the party). So, I was in that all too familiar position of selecting a wine that was “good enough” but not “too good.” Even though I think this falls into the “too good” category, but it is one of my wife’s favorites. In the end, once it was opened at the party, I had a glass, and liked it. I went back for another glass, and became that guy as I filled my glass nearly to the rim. But we all know I didn’t leave any wine in the glass. Good acidity and just a touch of sweetness, the wine is nicely balanced, allowing the tropical fruit to shine. Five years out and no real hurry to get through the other bottles. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2006 Turley Zinfandel Dusi Vineyard: Retail $45. I can count on one hand (or even a thumb) how many Turley Zins I have bought. The reason is simple—I just do not like the style: Big, bold, bone-crushing fruit and high alcohol. Nonetheless, as I have mentioned here before, one of the great pleasures in wine for me is an aged Zinfandel: the fruit fades a bit and leaves a nice (and hopefully complex) wine behind. Well, I might not have waited long enough here as there is still plenty of fruit (which is a bit stewed) and, for the first time in a long time, I really noticed the alcohol (15.6% !). Not “bad” in any way, but for some reason, I was hoping for more of a transformation given my past successes with old(er) Zins. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2003 Domaine Weinbach Riesling Réserve Personnelle: Retail $45. Initially a bit chalky and austere. I was not sure how to feel about it on the first glass or two, but as it warmed, it grew on me. Still not the best Alsatian Riesling I’ve had, but since I have three more bottles, I might as well try to embrace them…. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: This past week had two significant events: my Anniversary and International Champagne Day. Yet, as you no doubt quickly surmised, there are no bottles of champagne on the above list. Well, given my affinity for all that sparkles, I decided to turn those two bottles/events into their own post (in case you were wondering, neither would have likely been WOTW). Looking over what we drank last week, I would have thought that either the ’06 Turley Dusi or the ’03 Weinbach Réserve would have been in the running, but while they were both Very Good, I have to say that each fell short of expectation. No, the wine of the week was pretty clear-cut this go around—the ’06 Melville Pinot Noir Carrie’s takes the prize this week. While certainly not the “best” Pinot I have had in recent months, this was still a remarkable bottle of wine. I just visited Melville again this last summer, and while the ethos of the tasting room seems to have changed a bit, they are still producing some of the best wines in the Sta. Rita Hills.
What was your Wine of the Week?