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:
2009 Aldrich Browne Syrah Mariah Vineyard: Retail $35. Popped and poured. Quite dark and brooding in the glass with ominous aromas of dark berries and game wafting over the rim. Tilting it towards the lips, an initial wave of fruit invades the palate, obscuring all. With some time, some wonderful secondary flavors emerge–this wine needs time, either in the cellar or the decanter so as to calm down and present its best. Very Good, but clearly this has Outstanding stuffing should it find a patient drinker. 88-90 Points.
2012 Michel-Schlumberger Chardonnay Bienvenue: Retail $30. A bit of oak and some butter but by no means excessive. On the palate? Completely different. Balanced and fun but falls just short of intriguing. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2007 Papapietro Perry Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast: Retail $45. Coffee and meaty, with plenty of dark berry fruit on the nose, this wine exudes “new world” from the jump. On the palate? Plenty of fruit, but certainly more restrained given the age. In fact, the extra time in bottle seems to have enabled the wine to settle down and show some secondary characteristics–earth and a hint of tannin. I am not normally of the bigger Pinot style, but this is gangbusters. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2002 Saint-Chamant à Epernay Champagne Brut Cuvee de Chardonnay: Retail $75. Tarte Tatin a go-go on the nose with a hint of oxidation. The amber color is expected for a champagne with a dozen years on it, but there is still plenty of sparkle left here. On the palate? I am shocked that this is a Chardonnay as there is plenty of backbone and depth. This wine is Fantastic with loads of character, flavor, and life remaining. But it is oh so good right now. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2010 Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen Riesling Eroica: Retail $22. Petrol and some honeysuckle on the nose. A bit on the sweet side, but in no way cloying or overdone–good acidity and a lemon/lime element on the palate. This is one of my wife’s favorites and is always a solid choice for a variety of cuisine, but we like it best with Asian–particularly Korean. Very Good. 88-90 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Long before I started writing this blog, people came to me for advice on wine. It has taken different forms: desperate calls from the wine store seeking guidance, suggestions for food and wine pairings, even help with buying wine for wedding receptions. By far, though, in just about any situation imaginable, people are always asking me what I think about a certain wine. My father-in-law likes wine and often wants to know what I think about the wine he just bought, my sister-in-law also likes wine and always apologizes when she pours me a glass (she is the first to admit that she buys wine based on the attractiveness of the label), then there was the time that a friend of a friend gave me a bottle of wine to try–it was called “Green Apple Fields Wine” which was a white wine, made from a grape that I never heard of, infused with green apple concentrate. Yeah. Yikes. Then there are times like the one that happened this week. I was dropping off some wine for a friend that was having a party (and she asked me to help her get the wine for the event) and she mentioned that she had just drank a bottle of champagne that she felt was “disgusting.” Knowing how much I love the bubbles, she handed me a bottle to try–she wanted me to let her know what I thought. Since the bottle was already cold, as soon as I got home, I popped and poured. Well, the wine was fantastic. Sure, the 2002 Saint-Chamant à Epernay Champagne Brut Cuvee de Chardonnay has some age on it, which causes the wine to come off as slightly oxidized–a bit of an acquired taste, I guess–but for a wine made from 100% Chardonnay, this has incredible depth and verve. Later, at the party, my friend asked me what I thought of the wine. I tried to cushion it as best I could: “Well, vintage champagne is not for everyone” (which I later realized is akin to saying “Not everyone likes riding in a Mercedes.”). Fortunately, the champagne that I picked for the party was much more in line with her palate.
What was your Wine of the Week?