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:
2003 Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon Cinq Cépages: Retail $65. 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec, and 2% Petit Verdot. Right up front this gets a Whoa. No green pepper and tons of intrigue. Blackberry, cassis, and a hint of vanilla. On the palate this is incredible–balance, fruit, finish. Whoa. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2000 Cims de Porrera Priorat Classic: Retail $70. 70% Grenache and 30% Carignan. Consistent all the through. Moderate fruit, good aromatics (black cherry and raspberry) solid finish. Very Good, maybe more. 88-90 Points.
2009 Evening Land Vineyards Beaujolais-Villages Celebration: Retail $20. 100% Gamay. I had high hopes, and most of them were realized, but I was less than swayed…. Earth, acidity, complexity, and even a bit of funk. Lacking in the “wow” factor, as this is likely past its time. Good to Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2010 Failla Chardonnay Sonoma Coast: Retail $35. It is always an occasion when we open a Failla and I pulled this out when we were having some work done to the house and we were having some buyer’s remorse. Nothing cures that like a bottle from one of our favorite producers. A slightly golden hue with notes of honey and pineapple lead to a classic Chardonnay with balance, creaminess and just the right amount of acidity. Cellar Tracker folks say to drink this by 2013. They are completely bonkers. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2012 Michel-Schlumberger Bienvenue Chardonnay: Retail $25. A bit of oak and some butter but by no means excessive. On the palate? Completely different. Balanced and fun but stops just short of being truly intriguing. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2000 Fattoria di Montecchio Pietracupa Toscana IGT: Retail $35. 60% Sangiovese 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. The last time I tried this was five (?) years ago. Then it was above average but not spectacular. Here? Slightly stewed but really good. Whoa worthy? Almost. Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2013 Bernard et Christophe Richel Vin de Savoie Apremont: Retail $20. 100% Jacquère. When I opened this, I thought it was too warm, and it was not really all that expressive. I was not all that upset as I picked these up for under $10–just thought it was time to visit the mountains along the French/Swiss border. I poured a glass and then forgot about it by my side while I was watching the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team take it to Japan. At some point in the second half, I realized I still had some wine, which was pretty close to room temperature at this point. What a difference: citrus all over the place with great acidity and a descent finish. Very Good. 88-90 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Looking back over the week in wine, I was surprised to see that I did not have any Zinfandel (which given my relatively recent trips to both Dry Creek Valley and Lodi, I have been drinking more and more). Nor did I have any Pinot Noir (which rarely happens) or sparkling wine (which never happens). No this week, I decided to delve into a few wines that I feared I may have waited too long to consume. Given my recent scare during the night of crappy wines I became convinced that all my wine had turned to vinegar and I needed to get to the older wines as soon as possible. Well, if this week was any indication, I really should not worry all that much: the Cinq Cepages was wonderful, the Priorat was about where it should be, and the Pietracupa was a pleasant surprise. The Beaujolais was a bit of a bummer, but I am not all that shocked. When I bought it, I thought I was getting a Cru Beaujolais (of higher quality) for some reason. When it showed up and it was a Beaujolais-Villages, I figured it was over-the-hill. The problem is that I have another five bottles…. In the end, I opted for the 2010 Failla Chardonnay Sonoma Coast for Wine of the Week. Sure, it was not the highest scoring wine I had, but it is the one that evokes the fondest memories. Back when my wife and I started visiting Napa together, it was one of the first wineries we visited. At the time, we did not have very much disposable income, but we fell in love with Ehren Jordan’s Chardonnays and bought a few more than we likely should have. Ever since, whenever we open a Failla, we see it as a special occasion. The special occasion this time around? I think it was a Wednesday.
What was your Wine of the Week?