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:
2008 Bunnell Family Cellars Mourvèdre Northridge Vineyard (Columbia Valley, Washington): Retail $35. I do not have a ton of Washington wine in my cellar (less than 3%, or about 5 cases), so I tend to be a little tight-fisted when it comes to drinking them. Based on this bottle, I might want to get to a few of them sooner rather than later. Inky dark with white pepper and black raspberry; quite tart on the palate, but some nice dark berry flavors and a bit of depth. I say a “bit” but this is not the most introspective wine I have had tonight, let alone this week. Still, this is enjoyable, falling just short of Outstanding. I would drink this soon, if you have it hanging around. Very Good. 88-90 Points.
2012 Couly-Dutheil Chinon Rosé Domaine René Couly (Loire Valley, France): Retail $25. It might be me: I had just gotten back from a bike ride and I was lamenting the fact that I am out of shape and overweight, but this wine (like my mid-section) seemed a bit flabby tonight. Sure, the fruit was there, but the acidity was lacking from perhaps my “go-to” rosé. I have three more bottles, which I will be sure to open when I am at least a few pounds lighter and my self-esteem is above rock bottom. Very Good. 88-90 Points.
2011 Cru Wine Company Mariposa Viceroy (Paso Robles, California): Retail $30. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre. This was sitting in the cellar for a while, essentially forgotten until I decided to clean up a bit down there. Finding it I thought two things: 1) Bonus! 2) Wow, you might have a bit of a problem—you did not realize that you had this wine? Well, tonight I am focusing on the former. Good berry fruit both on the nose and the palate, this is a wine to be consumed now as there is not a ton of stuffing holding it up. Make no mistake, this is a fun, juicy, tasty wine that your friends will love. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2014 Château d’Esclans Whispering Angel (Côtes du Provence, France): Retail $25. A blend of Grenache, Rolle (Vermentino) and Cinsault. My first couple of bottles of this wine I thought: “Not bad, but not more.” Well, I think I am coming around on this wine. It has always been a solid rosé, but the previous couple of bottles found me a bit perplexed—mostly because I was being a New World knucklehead and focused on the fruit. Well, this wine is much more than the fruit. Sure, there is fruit (strawberry and melon), but it tends to be more reserved (a word that is not in the lexicon of most Americans). But the balance. Holy schmolly (technical term), this wine has that in spades. The key here is to hold the wine in the mouth a bit longer than usual—in other words to think before you speak (something I am not all that known for). I guess that is the lesson I should try to learn from our European brethren: Think more, talk less. Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2005 Point Concepción Syrah Cuvée Jalama (Santa Barbara County, California): Retail $22. It has been over a year and a half since I last tried this wine and it is still stellar. The tannins are fully integrated at this point and the fruit is luscious: blackberry, raspberry, and a bit of spice with some depth half way through. I stand by my statement that this is one of the best CA Syrahs I have had, and I only paid $9/bottle. I guess that means I’m “winning” but I have yet to meet Peter Cargasacchi, the winemaker. I am pretty sure that there would be a mutual man-crush should that ever happen. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2010 Vinhos Sogrape Alentejo Callabriga (Portugal): Retail $20. Blend of Aragonez, Alicante Bouschet, and Alfrocheiro. This is the third bottle (or so) of this wine that we have had and my opinion has not varied a nanosecond: more of a “New World” feel to this wine, with big, bold fruit, but there is also some nicely balanced acid. Surprisingly, some nice grip on the back-end as well. For the suggested retail of $16, this is a solid effort. For the $10 at the PLCB? This is a no-brainer. Others have challenged my assessment of this wine, but they are entitled to their opinion, even if it is wrong. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
WINE of the WEEK: This week the pope was in our fair city and it was a bit taxing—our movement (even on foot) was severely limited: I was not allowed to cross a street that is two blocks from our house, for example, which cut us off from restaurants and the local Whole Foods. We were fine—I had bought plenty of food beforehand and wine was never an issue. So we hunkered down, watched a lot of football, and I was able to actually to ride my bike a bit (the additional weaving to get past the National Guard served to add a few miles on to my route). I spent some time in the cellar, trying to straighten things up a bit, and as I did, I came across a number of wines that I had either forgotten or that needed to be consumed rather soon. The best of that bunch was clearly the 2005 Point Concepción Syrah Cuvée Jalama. I bought a case of the wine from the state-controlled monopoly (the PLCB) for $9/bottle three years ago. While the wine seems to have peaked and might be slipping back down, it is still one heck of a wine, even if it did come by way of the Evil Empire (the PLCB in case you have not been paying attention).
What was your Wine of the Week?