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:
2006 32 Winds Pinot Noir: Retail $50. Phew. Before I popped this bottle, I actually read my previous notes on the wine (which is as about as rare as going through a whole day with no wine…), and I was worried—one bottle was a stinker, the other was awesome. Well, I am happy to report that this was much more the latter than the former! A fantastic wine that is drinking beautifully. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2011 Cave des Producteurs de Vouvray Pétillant De Chanceny Tête de Cuvée, Brut Excellence: Retail $25. I was right, this is getting better and I need to buy more. Nutty and delicate, it lacks a bit of sparkle, but that is typical of Pétillant (which has slightly less sparkle than a Method Traditionelle or “Champagne” Method). I am going out to buy another case tomorrow. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2009 Clos Pepe Estate Chardonnay Barrel Fermented: Retail $30. I have heard Wes Hagen of Clos Pepe say on a couple of occasions that the Santa Rita Hills are better suited for Chardonnay than Pinot Noir. Well, it is hard to argue with him when tasting this wine. Lemon curd, lime, and a hint of oak. Wes is right. This stuff rocks. Great balance and verve. Close to whoa, a great pairing for the Epoisses. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2004 Clarendon Hills Syrah Brookman: Retail $65. OK, not my style, but having said that, this was fun to drink. Dark and brooding, with big fruit on the nose: cassis, anise, raspberry. On the palate, more of the same–big and juicy still, ten years out. But even at 14.5% alcohol, this is not overwhelming. Far from Old World, but great to drink. Add to the calculus that I received this bottle from a friend who has had a bit of a rough go recently, we toasted to him on every glass, hoping that we would send some good energy his way. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
1998 Cornaleto Franciacorta Pas Dosé: Retail $45. Like Pinot Grigio, I really do not “get” Franciacorta. For the most part, those that I have tried are just as expensive as champagne, but all have failed to be anywhere close as interesting to my beloved Champers. I bought these after they went on sale at the state store for $20. I figured it was worth a whirl. The nose showed its age, with a pronounced Sherry note. The fizz was there, but weak and faded quickly. I bought a few and I am not sure I am going to keep the rest, Ah, what the heck, bottoms up! Good to Very Good. 85-87 Points.
NV Ehrhart Chardonnay Crémant d’Alsace Cuvée Prestige: Retail $25. Green apple all over the place. Great bubbles and a great price. Deep? No. Causing introspection? Nah. Fun? You bet…. Good to Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2012 Jermann Vinnaioli Pinot Grigio Venezia Giulia IGT: Retail $25. I have my issues with Pinot Grigio. I kind of do not see the point–most are rather insipid, tasteless, and unfortunate. Recently, though, I have been dipping into some of the wines form the north, and while this is not from Alto Aldige, it is a solid wine. Good flavors and acidity, but lacking a bit of depth. I am a fan of Jermann, so I will certainly revisit… Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2003 Hubert Lamy Saint-Aubin 1er Cru Les Frionnes: Retail $45. Whoa. Understated fruit of lemon and pineapple on the nose, but on the palate? Incredible. Classic White Burgundy a go-go. I just got back from Burgundy and this is the best white I have had this year. Incredible. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: As I started writing this post, it was clear what the wine of the week was going to be: I opened the 2003 Hubert Lamy Saint-Aubin 1er Cru Les Frionnes with a good friend who was in town and able to stop by for only and hour or two. He appreciates a good white Burgundy, so I thought this might be a good choice. It was. Despite coming from a difficult year, this wine was fantastic—great flavors and aging. I bought several of these a while ago and this was sadly the last one. So why was choosing it so difficult? Well, mid-way through this re-cap, I decided I needed a bit of wine and went down and grabbed a bottle of the 2006 32 Winds Pinot Noir, a wine made by Ehren Jordan, winemaker extraordinaire. The Pinot was sublime, although very light in color, it was packed full of rich berry flavors and sported an incredible finish. So instead of confronting this dilemma and opting for one over the other, I have decided to embrace conflict and “award” them both co-Wine of the Week honors (which is convenient since I do not have a photo of the St. Aubin—we drank it on Tuesday and recycling is on Wednesday!).
What was your Wine of the Week?