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 over the past few weeks:
2007 Alma Rosa Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills: Retail $30. The fruit has tamed down a bit and while I thought that would be a good thing, I am not quite sure. Don’t get me wrong, this is still wonderful, but it lacks a tiny bit of intrigue compared to the last bottle. Maybe the difference between a second date and a third: still fun, but a little of the luster has worn off. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2008 Angelica Cellars Syrah: Retail $30. Initially, a bit of a fruity mess. I took a flyer on these from Last Bottle and for $16? Um, well…. After a bit of time in the glass, this got marginally better, but I am not one to work much in the margins. The wife was even less impressed. After she went to bed and I was able to switch off Parenthood, I was coming around to this wine. Good, maybe Very Good, but not more. 85-87 Points.
2000 Château de Mercuès Cahors Cuvée Prestige 6666: Retail $35. I know that most people consider Argentinian Malbec to be the rage, but the variety hails from the Southwest of France. My first two bottles of this wine were solid, but this last one was a notch above–good fruit that was not at all stewed, with fine balance and a lasting finish. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2007 Hugel et Fils Riesling “Hugel”: Retail $20. This is not a mind-blowing wine, but it is a solid example of the variety and region. Bright citrus and a hint of petrol–not the most profound wine, but a delight to drink. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
NV Mailly Grand Cru Champagne Brut Réserve: Jeroboam. Retail $250? We have had this for over a decade and we finally organized a group of people to get together to drink this bad boy. Well, we waited a bit too long. There was still fizz, and some good flavors, but neither lasted very long in the glass. Not overly oxidized but it was noticeable. Not the best one of these we have had, but how can you not like a Jeroboam.
2005 Melville Pinot Noir Carrie’s Vineyard: Retail $50. I am a big fan of the winemaker, Greg Brewer. Even a huge fan. This is why. He’s always working with great fruit, but he is really talented–almost ten years out this is fantastic. There is the characteristic eucalyptus that I associate with Sta Rita Hills but a ton more. Fruit, balance, earth. Like that vacation you plan, save for, worry about, and it actually turns out wonderfully. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2008 Pyramid Valley Pinot Noir Growers Collection Calvert Vineyard: Retail $25. This wine is perfectly fine, but i really do not get all the love by the raters on Cellar Tracker. A 91 average with multiple 94s? I just don’t get it. OK flavors and acidity, but rather thin and uneventful and even a bit dull. Good to Very Good, I guess. 85-87 Points.
NV Yves Ruffin Champagne Extra Brut Premier Cru: Retail $35. Three bottles, all oxidized. I guess there is sometimes a reason that wines show up on flash sites and the price seems too good to be true. Flawed.
1987 Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Bates Ranch: Retail $30? OK. It was time. Even past time. I tried to pretend that this was a big, bold, introspective wine, but really it was tired, faded, although mildly interesting. Not horrible, but past its prime for sure. But given that this was nearly 30 years old? Good, maybe Very Good. 85-87 Points.
2010 Tallulah Marsanne Como Stagecoach Vineyard: Retail $35. The wine was a bit too cold to begin and hence the nose did not give up much besides a little lemon. As it warmed, some more tropical flavors (think guava) came to the fore. On the palate, surprisingly vibrant with great acidity and flavors. Really rich and unctuous with a very nice finish–a very interesting wine and a great departure from Chardonnay. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2004 Viña Cobos Malbec Bramare Marchiori Vineyard: Retail $35. Still big and bold with stewed raspberry and chocolate. On the palate, beyond my “typical” red wine, but good for what it is. Interesting and fun, but not really my cup of tea. Good to Very Good. 86-88 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: On any other random week, given this lineup of wines, there would be no doubt that the Wine of the Week would be the 2005 Melville Pinot Noir Carrie’s Vineyard, but this week we pulled out a bit of a “blast from the past” with the Jeroboam of Non-Vintage Mailly Grand Cru Champagne Brut Réserve. The wine was not great, in fact it was probably barely even “good” (we did manage to drink the whole thing, though), but that is not why it is wine of the week. Nor did I choose it simply because it was a Jeroboam, which is exceedingly fun to say. No, the reason it gets top honors this week is simply for the reminiscing that it stimulated. We bought a bunch of these Jeroboams over a dozen years ago with some great friends when I found them on an internet site for the unbelievably stupid price of $40 delivered. Yes, that is correct, I found Jeroboams–the equivalent of 4 regular size bottles–for the price of just a single bottle. And this is one of my favorite champagnes under the sun. Crazy. We bought a few initially, drank one, and after we determined that the wine was fantastic, we ordered a bunch more for us and our friends. How many? Well, in all we think we bought somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 Jeroboams. After the one we drank this week, we have one left. Any one want to come over and help drink it?
What was your Wine of the Week?