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:
2007 Fattoria del Cerro Vino Nobile di Montepulciano: Retail $25. 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo Nero. Despite being eight years old, still some great fruit, particularly for an old world wine. Black cherry, vanilla, and a floral note (violet?) up front and very juicy on the palate. Just a hint of tannin, but plenty of acidity to hold it together. I started out liking this wine, but as the bottle slowly drained I found myself liking it even more. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
2000 Michel Colin-Deléger et Fils Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot: Retail $60. Chassagne is known for its whites, but there is a small amount of Pinot grown and it is usually fabulous. As was this. Initially, tons of Brett. Even off-putting. It blew off completely, surprisingly, after about ten minutes. After that? Whoa. Still good fruit with a little funk but it is all black raspberry and forest floor on the palate. Whoa. Everything is molded together seamlessly. Whoa. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
N.V. Winzer Krems Sekt Haus Österreich Extra Dry: Retail $20. You do not see a whole lot of Austrian Sekt in the U.S. and even less in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, so when I saw this at the local PLCB store, I snatched a few. Light and lively on the nose with a bunch of citrus, on the palate very nice acidity and fruit, but there is a bit of chalky astringency on the finish that holds this back (but only slightly). Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2005 Fattoria Lavacchio Chianti Rùfina Cedro: Retail $25. A classic Rufina with dark, slightly stewed cherries and a bit of earthiness thrown in. Despite being ten years out, this still shows youthful intentions and bright acidity. Not much in the way of tannin left, so I would certainly drink in the near-ish term, but this still has a couple of good years left. Very Good, maybe more. 88-90 Points.
2005 Domaine de l’Oriel Gérard Weinzorn Gewurztraminer Cuvée Claire: Retail $25. I bought six of these a decade ago and there is one left after this. Notes are consistent with previous bottles but I would add that this seems sweeter than the others, nearly to the point of dessert wine. In the end though, this was a fine pairing to the slightly spicy fish and garlic green beans. Wonderful. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
NV Pfaffenheim Crémant d’Alsace Brut Excellence: Retail $20. I bought these almost two years ago and I essentially forgot about until I went down looking for something else. I dropped this in the freezer and after a half an hour, popped it. It seems to have lost bit of sparkle and taken on a bit of oxidation. The latter is not always a problem with me, but the former? Call me old-fashioned but sparkling wines should, well, sparkle. Not bad at all, but just held onto these for a bit too long, perhaps. Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2000 Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Brut Millésimé: Retail $80. Last week I was at a couple tastings with Régis Camus, the Chef de Caves who, when I told him I had a couple of bottles of this he replied “2000? Il faut les boire.” So I did. A bit dark and weak on bubbles, but huge on flavor. A bit nutty and some oxidation but this is gangbusters. As in right down the middle of my strike zone. Rich, full, and thought-provoking. Can’t wait to visit Régis in Reims. Hope he remembers me or I will look rather foolish (but I am rather familiar with that road). Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
WINE of the WEEK: The Wine of the Week was chosen before I even opened it, let alone tasted it, but there were two interlopers that almost stole the show. The first interloper was the 2005 Domaine de l’Oriel Gérard Weinzorn Gewurztraminer Cuvée Claire. I bought a full case (including six Rieslings) at the winery almost a decade ago, and this was the next to last bottle (I have a feeling when I crack the last bottle it will appear in this space yet again). A good friend introduced me to this producer in the small town of Niedermorschwihr just outside of Colmar and I stopped in when I was leading a bike tour through Alsace. It was quite an adventure to get the wine back to the hotel unscathed (but I have been down that road a few times as well). The second potential interloper was the 2000 Michel Colin-Deléger et Fils Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot. I do not have the personal connection as I do with the Gewurz, but this wine, after the Brett blew off, was stellar. What made it even more so was the fact that once my wife got a whiff of the “funkiness” she eschewed the wine almost entirely, leaving most of it for me. These two wines tried, but they really had no shot of unseating the
2000 Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Brut Millésimé as Wine of the Week. As I mentioned in the note, I spent a couple of days in New York this past week with Piper’s Chef de Cave, Régis Camus, and it was a blast. He first appeared rather punctilious as he lead a group of us through the first tasting, but that only lasted a few minutes before his witty, playful, even a bit sarcastic side came out. In other words, we got along famously. So when I popped the champagne, I could not help but feel his presence both in the room and in the wine. In fact, the only thing that could have made the wine any more enjoyable would have been if Régis had been there to share it.
What was your Wine of the Week?