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:
2006 Argyle Pinot Noir Spirithouse Reserve Series: Retail $65. A little funk here. If it were not for the screw top, I would argue that this might be corked but I won’t go there. Black raspberry and earth. On the palate? Whoa. I have been a fan of this winery for some time and this is a perfect example why. Good, but reserved fruit; intrigue, acidity, and balance; this is just gangbusters. Ok: whoa. There. I went there. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2003 Beaulieu Vineyard Tapestry Reserve: Retail $65. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Initially, this was a bit one note: a bunch of fruit up front and not much else. With a little time and air, the wine developed a lot more depth and secondary characteristics. Cassis, black cherry, and vanilla followed by a bit of tobacco and leather. Despite the noticeable sediment on the side of the bottle, there is still a considerable amount of tannin on the back end. No need to wait any longer, though, as it’s Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2007 Clos Pepe Estate Pinot Noir: Retail $50. OK. I love Clos Pepe. OK. I love Sta Rita Pinot. And I love this Clos Pepe Sta Rita Hills Pinot Noir. Despite all that? I adore this wine. Black berry fruit and that characteristic SRH eucalyptus. Past the lips? Whoa. That’s right, a solid Whoa. No joke. Fruit, balance, acidity. Whoa-ly goodness! Whoa. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2009 Fields Family Wines Merlot: Retail $40. I bought this at the winery not too long ago and I pulled it out to prime the pump, so to speak, in anticipation of the Pétrus. Raspberry and mocha on the nose. This, in short, is amazing. I thought I held onto it too long but whoa Nellie. Rich and full. Gangbusters (i.e., Outstanding). 91-93 Points.
1994 Pétrus: Retail $1,000? 95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc. Whoa. Yeah, a Pétrus. I have never had one of these (nor even dreamed that I ever would), so when a friend brought it over, I nearly passed out. Initially austere. A bit stewed even on the nose, but some raspberry coming thru in a gangbusters kind of way, hiding some mocha notes with some anise. On the palate? Again reserved, but with time? Whoa. Not at all over the place by any means, but the acidity is precise and focused. In the end? This is either too early or too late. All the same? Whoa. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2000 Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Brut Millésimé: Retail $75. I had this in the fridge, ready to go on New Year’s Eve, but we never got to it. Probably a good thing as this was certainly barely hanging on. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it, but then I cherish champagnes that show their age. The sparkle was faint and the oxidation heavy, but I can’t get enough of that musty champagne flavor. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
WINE of the WEEK: Well, there were several fantastic wines that we opened over the course of the week, and I consider it a very good week any time I open a Clos Pepe. I have a couple of cases left of the now defunct winery, so there will be plenty more Wine of the Week honors in its future. The ’09 Fields Merlot was also spectacular, rich in fruit and depth–Ryan Sherman does a fantastic job and if you are not familiar with his wines, you are doing yourself a disservice. The ’03 B.V. Tapestry and the ’06 Argyle Spirithouse were both precisely what I had hoped: fantastic wines that live up to their somewhat lofty reputations. Then there was the ’00 Piper-Heidsieck. This was our third bottle of this wine and we certainly did not drink it too soon. I was very glad that the cellar master at Piper, the renowned Régis Camus, told me that I really should get to these bottles soon. He was right. even though on its last legs, this was still a delight. Despite our good fortune with wines over the course of the week, clearly, the 1994 Pétrus was the Wine of the Week. Perhaps the most famous (and expensive) Merlot in the world, Pétrus is known for its richness of fruit and longevity. Well. While the wine was certainly stellar, I guess I was expecting a tad bit more. After a bit of shyness, it did open up and gradually improved over the course of the bottle. still, I was ready to be floored and I guess I was merely staggered. In the end, I know I would rather have two cases of the Fields Merlot than one bottle of Pétrus, but how could it not be Wine of the Week?
What was your Wine of the Week?