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:
2014 Roberto Anselmi Bianco San Vincenzo Veneto IGT: Retail $18. 80% Garganega, 10% Chardonnay, 10% Sauvignon Blanc. I have always struggled with Italian whites as I usually find them rather lacking in both flavor and particularly acidity. Well, after a lunch with Lisa Anselmi in February, I realized that both were actually possible. This normally retails at $18, and is a solid wine at that price, but it is a steal at the $12 WTSO.com price. An aromatic white with notes of apricot and apple. Those flavors persist on the palate along with a vibrant acidity. At last, an Italian white that I can hang my hat on. Very Good. 88-90 Points.
2010 Elyse Zinfandel Morisoli Vineyard: Retail $35. I was down in the basement trying to decide on a wine and once I emerged from the cellar, there was only one slice of pizza left. I guess that is what I get for my indecisiveness. Well, I have mixed feelings about this wine. I am a big fan of the winery in general, and this wine is a solid effort, but it is just not my style of Zin. Candied nose and palate, there is a bunch of Cherry Jolly Rancher here. The nose is a touch hot, despite having the ubiquitous alcohol of 14.5%. I like it enough, but again, not the style of Zin I relish. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2007 Louis Jadot Fleurie: Retail $25. 100% Gamay. It was pasta night at the old homestead and my wife surprised me by saying that she wanted a Beaujolais (her usual degree of specificity is “red” or “bubbles”). So I ran down to the cellar and grabbed one of these Fleuries. I am a big fan of Beaujolais, and this wine is from one of the ten ‘Cru’ villages. I usually like to throw my Beaujolais in the fridge for about 30 minutes to put a bit of a chill on it to regulate the acidity a bit, but I did not have time tonight, so I just grabbed the bottle and pulled the cork. At first, as I feared, the acidity was a bit overwhelming, but paired with the pasta, the acidity balanced out. The wine had some nice dried cherry fruit and a very long finish. On the first taste, this wine was a bit of a disappointment, but it came around like so many old world wines once the food was introduced. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
2009 Fields Family Wines Merlot: Retail $35. Big and jammy on the nose and it continued on the palate. I have not hidden the fact that I do not really “get” merlot. If this were my only reference? I would be well on my way to “getting” it. There is plenty of fruit both up front and on the palate, but there is also plenty of depth. This could likely go a bit longer, but it is drinking so very well now, why wait? Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
1999 Mailly Grand Cru Champagne Brut Millésimé: Retail $75. I brought this back from France in ’07 and the last bottle was spectacular. This time around, I was honestly a bit worried, since I have not had the greatest luck lately with oxidized/corked wines. My fear was underscored as the cork was stubborn–resisting extraction, but it eventually succumbed with a healthy “pop.” Slightly golden with plenty of sparkle, and a creamy richness on the nose. It gets a “Whoa” just on the nose. Creamy and rich on the palate and at least another full Whoa. Acidity balances out the creaminess and the finish is unreal. A third “Whoa.” What is beyond Outstanding? Outstanding++. 94-96 Points.
2013 Westerly Vineyards Fletcher’s White: Retail $20. 37.5% Sauvignon Blanc, 23.61% Semillon, 22.22% Roussanne, 16.67% Viognier (as a stats geek, I love the precision here). A deep gold color leads to a full, round nose of pineapple, lemon and a touch of melon. Big and bold on the palate, reminiscent of a Rhône white blend, but different–more unctuous and fruitier. Certainly unique among the many wines I have tried over the years. Initially, I was a bit confused as I did not quite know where to place it. But as the bottle slowly emptied, I came around to really enjoy the wine. A lot. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
WINE of the WEEK: All in all, it was a fairly good week when it came to cork popping with nary a stinker in the bunch, and all I would easily recommend to friend and foe alike. When I pulled the bottle of the 1999 Mailly Grand Cru Champagne Brut Millésimé, I knew immediately that it was going to be wine of the week even if it had been corked or oxidized (OK, maybe not corked). It is a vintage wine from one of our favorite producers in Champagne, my favorite style of champagne (Mailly is from the Montagne de Reims region, which is known for Pinot Noir dominated champagnes), good friends introduced us to the winery years ago, and we were sharing the bottle with other dear friends, one of whom was celebrating a birthday. I have said many times that context greatly affects one’s impression of a wine, and you could certainly make that argument here, but I assure you, even without the story behind it, this was one hell of a bottle of bubbles. If you don’t understand the fascination with vintage champagne, buy a bottle from a great producer, store it well, hang onto it for a dozen years or so, and then serve it with some food. Then you can send me an email telling me “Oh, now I get it!”
What was your Wine of the Week?