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:
2012 Couly-Dutheil Chinon Rosé Domaine René Couly: Retail $25. 100% Cabernet Franc. I really think this wine is getting better with age. Now, I am certainly not the first to say that about wine in general, but not too many say that rosé, particularly a saignée like this one, can age all that well. This wine is really what a rosé should be: dry, fruity (but not too much), refreshing, and great either on its own or with a meal. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
NV Vicomte de Castellane Champagne Brut: Retail $40. Not the greatest pairing for General Tsao’s chicken, but I thought it held up well enough. It was after dinner, however, that this bottle started to shine—and there is clearly some age on this NV Brut, which usually highlights the baked bread aspects of a champagne. Solid all the way through with a well above average finish. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2008 Foley Estates Chardonnay Rancho Santa Rosa: Retail $35. At first? I have to admit that this wine seemed a bit over-ripe, stewed even. But the first glass I had was far too warm, so I plopped it back in the fridge and waited. Upon revisit? Different animal–still a rather big, Cali-style chard with creaminess and oak, but it seemed to be better balanced (might be the first time I have ever said to make sure a white is really cold…). Over all a very nice wine–just not one to share with the Anything But Chardonnay crowd! Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2014 Joseph Mellot Sancerre La Demoiselle Rosé: Retail $25. Strawberry and rhubarb with a tart lemon twist. Listen, this is not the fruitiest of wines, but it is a wonderful example of Sancerre rosé. Frankly put, I would drink Sancerre rosé every day of the week and twice on Sundays, and I would start with this one…. Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2011 Soléna Pinot Noir Hyland Vineyard: Retail $40. This is not a mind-blower by any means, but a solid Pinot, nonetheless. I got these from Last Bottle for $22, but had I paid full-freight (~$40), I would be a little less forgiving. Some good fruit (cherry) and a bit of earth, but noticeably lacking in the complexity department. For $22? Good, even Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2009 Rued Winery Zinfandel: Retail $26. I picked these up for $12 on So this may have peaked. I am still a fan, particularly given the price (and that the Rueds are some of the nicest people you will ever meet). This time around, however, a bit of a one note wonder: some good fruit initially and a touch of complexity (I guess that makes it a two note wonder), but lacking the depth that the other bottles had. Still? A bargain and a half. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
1991 Topolos Zinfandel Rossi Vineyard Sonoma County: Retail ???. How often do you get to drink a 25 year-old Zin? Well, after tonight, it will be a while longer for me as this is the last one. A bit hot on the nose, with some stewed raspberry. On the palate some dried cherry and depth. A nearly 25-year-old Zin? Gangbusters. Maybe more. 91-93 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: There really was not much debate this week over the Wine of the Week (well, there never is really much of a debate since that would take two people, so I guess it was more of a contemplation). The Couly-Dutheuil Rosé is always one of my favorites and the de Castellane Champagne was more than solid, but any time you have a wine that is more than a decade old (and in this case nearly two and a half decades), it becomes the wine of the week even if it pretty much sucks. Why is that? think about that for a minute. What other 25-year-old product would you ever consider to consume? As I sit here writing this, I am trying to conjure up another product that I would consider ingesting that was even five years old. Can of soup? Probably not. Dried pasta? Nope. Twinkies? Maybe when I was younger. Spam? Actually, I would probably give the Spam a go (I have fond memories of the sautéed Spam sandwiches my mother made us when we were kids). Other than that? Not a chance. So what is it that we do not hesitate doing it with wine? In fact, there are dopes like me who actually seek really old wines, particularly old Zins. Wines like the 1991 Topolos Zinfandel Rossi Vineyard Sonoma County are a real treat. Not only do you get to see what happens to a wine over time (Zins tend to really mellow out—the fruit fades and you are left with a very Pinot-esque wine, with tons of interesting flavors), but you get to reminisce about the vintage year—where you were, what you were doing, regrets you may have (none of which I will divulge here—bring by an older wine if you want me to spill those details).
What was your Wine of the Week?