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 Bunnell Family Cellars Syrah Boushey-McPherson Vineyards: Retail $40. What a delight. I picked this up in Woodinville several years ago when out visiting the in-laws (they are fine people, but their proximity to Woodinville is certainly an added bonus). Dark, even for a Syrah, with spice, vanilla, and a floral aspect on the nose. The palate is equally enticing, with the fruit, acid, and integrated tannins in a wonderful balance. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2005 Lucien Crochet Sancerre Rouge La Croix du Roy: Retail $25. By now, after having two great bottles of this, I came into this one expecting a jolly good time. Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the third bottle–it fell a bit flat. A bit too acidic, not much character, just a bit “meh.” So I put a stopper in it and went down to get a bottle of something else. The following day I came back to this bottle as I was trying to write something semi-intelligent and there it was–the wine I had hoped I would find (although still waiting on the clever prose). Not a ton of fruit, but enough, some depth, and of course balance. I am now on a mission to find more red Sancerre. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2010 Domaine Du Mont M. Bressand Viré-Clessé: Retail $30. I picked these up from WTSO for what seemed to be a good deal; I bought 4 bottles. That was over a year ago, but this was the first I’ve tried. I poured out the golden-colored wine and was a bit worried. On the nose, though, it was impressive with some floral aspects (honeysuckle?), lemon peel, and a bit of peach. On the palate, great acidity and a fantastic finish. This is really nice. Very Good. 88-90 Points.
2007 Novy Family Wines Syrah Susan’s Hill Vineyard: Retail $30. Great nose: raspberry and chocolate with a hint of cherry. Dark and brooding in the glass, but delightful on the palate with subtle fruit and considerable depth. A bit shallow through the mid-palate, but a strong finish, ending with a bit of anise. Very Good, maybe more. 88-90 Points.
2005 Olek-Mery Chinon Cuvée des Tireaux: Retail $25. A good amount of Chinon funk on the nose—more of a chalky, mineral funk than a Bretty-type thing. On the palate, initially quite austere and reserved, but with time it came around with raspberry and a bit of chamomile, and a tannic finish—this might still have some time to go folks…. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
NV Charles de Monrency Champagne Brut Réserve: Retail $25. Not the world’s greatest Champers, but the price ($18 on WTSO) was certainly right. Great bubbles, ample acidity, and good fruit. Lacking in yeastiness, but what do you want for less than $20? Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2011 Soléna Pinot Noir Domaine Danielle Laurent: Retail $45. I bought these a few weeks ago from Last Bottle, and they showed up in the coldest day of the year (the high was 18° F) it seemed clear that this bottle had been frozen–the cork was a 1/4 inch above the top of the bottle, and the top of the cork was moist with wine. So I decided it needed to be popped right away. At first, it was as closed as any wine that I can remember having in a while. I was ready to write it off and hoped that the other three would be better, but after making dinner, the wine opened up. A lot. Classic cherry and forest floor. On the palate, stellar depth and balance. This really came around. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Choosing the Wine of the Week is sometimes rather straight-forward and other times a bit more nuanced. This week was the latter more than the former. While I certainly try to be objective in evaluating wines (although for me, context is certainly part of the process), choosing the WOTW is much more subjective. This week, I ventured a bit into the Loire with both a Chinon and a Sancerre Rouge. I think the Loire is one of the more under-appreciated regions in France and both wines were stellar, particularly the 2005 Lucien Crochet Sancerre Rouge La Croix du Roy, which showed that you can make a wonderful Pinot Noir that certainly exhibits its “sense of place” but will not cost a small fortune. The 2007 Bunnell Family Cellars Syrah Boushey-McPherson Vineyards was also fantastic and reminded me that my wife’s family lives in much more interesting places than does my own (suburban Detroit is not anyone’s idea of a “vacation destination”). In the end, this week I chose the 2011 Soléna Pinot Noir Domaine Danielle Laurent. It is this week’s WOTW for three reasons: it was a terrific bottle of wine, it caused me to breathe a little easier knowing that the wine made it through the frigid temperatures relatively unscathed, and another blogger friend of mine, April of Sacred Drop, works for Soléna, and is one of the nicest people on the planet.
What was your Wine of the Week?