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:
2004 Argyle Pinot Noir Nuthouse Reserve Series: Retail $55. Hmmmm. We might have waited a tad too long, but this is still pretty darn good. Surprisingly, the red fruit is on the darker side–not the lithe, fresh fruit that I associate with Oregon. Nonetheless, a solid glass, but I would drink up if you have any in the cellar. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2006 Chasseur Chardonnay Durell Vineyard: Retail $55. Whoa. Buttery and oaky on the nose which lets u know this is a California Chardonnay. Digging deeper there is certainly some pineapple and lemon curd goodness. On the palate rich and creamy with noticeable oak but it’s all in balance. Big Cali chards have their place and I will exclaim that from the highest soapbox. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2006 Flowers Chardonnay Andreen-Gale Sonoma Coast: Retail $45. Lemon and vanilla on the nose, this is completely delightful–rich and full on the palate with a lovely, lingering finish. Last bottle of this, but it is going great–I would be in no real hurry if I had any more…. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2005 Gary Farrell Pinot Noir Starr Ridge Vineyard: Retail $65. We were going to a favorite restaurant that specializes in all things pork, so I thought this was a slam dunk. I was right. I ordered a pork chop that turned out to be as big as my head. The wine? A bit dark for a Pinot and on the nose surprising darker fruit (blackberry, cassis, even blueberry). On the palate all Cali Pinot. Great fruit and acid. And a finish to kill for, and I am pretty much a pacifist. Outstanding. 93-95 Points.
NV Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Brut: Retail $45. Looking over my notes, I have had this bottle of champagne for a staggering six years. OK, “staggering” might be a bit over-the-top, but most argue that it is of no use to keep non-vintage champagne for any length of time as it will not improve at all. Well, this bottle debunks that argument. Whereas the “newer” bottles show apple and citrus, this older bottle shows caramel, brioche, and a teeny bit of sherry. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
1987 Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Bates Ranch: Retail $32. OK, let’s get this out of the way up front: this is not a blockbuster. Nor is this a wine with a lot of upside. This is a wine that was likely at its best a couple of years ago (or more). But make no mistake: there is a ton of fruit and ample acidity to hold it together. Years before the Santa Cruz Mountains became significant, this shows the promise that has (yet to have?) been realized from the region. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: When I sit down to write this paragraph, I look back over the wines we had this week, and I try to decided which wine deserves to be the Wine of the Week. This week, what immediately hit me was that we had some pretty darn good wines this week, and none of them were from the current decade. I do not say that as a boastful statement, but rather we have been buying wine for some time now and most of it I put away for a few years (at least). It has been frustrating for my wife since she does not understand the need to sit wines down. While it does not always work out as well as I would like (the ’04 Argyle was perhaps an example of that), but most of the time, good wine improves over time–tannins become integrated, the fruit mellows out a bit, and secondary flavors come out in spades. That is exactly what happened (in my opinion) with this week’s Wine Of the Week, the 2005 Gary Farrell Pinot Noir Starr Ridge Vineyard. We bought two of these back in 2007 when we were out in California visiting the in-laws. My brother-in-law had bought a couple bottles of this as well, but we consumed those that same week back in ’07. While those bottles were great at the time, they were nowhere close to where this bottle was this week.
What was your Wine of the Week?