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:
2004 Domaine des Baumard Savennières: Retail $30? 100% Chenin Blanc. A little better this go around it seems, which is only fitting as this is the last bottle that I have. Quite dark and oily with lemon, honeydew, and a bit of pineapple, perhaps. On the palate, this is not liquid gold, and not even liquid silver, but maybe bronze. This is a wine for the wine-geek in all of us, a 12-year-old Chenin from the heart of it all (OK, Vouvray is probably the heart, so maybe this is from one of the lungs?). Very Good. 88-90 Points.
NV Louis Chalvon Champagne Grande Réserve: Retail $30. Perfectly fine. Bright, cheery, some depth, but not life changing. But then neither is the price (I think we paid $20). A bit yeasty on the mid palate. Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2010 Château Ferrande Blanc: Retail $15. 60% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Sémillon. Surprisingly dark in color and light in aromatics. I bought this a while ago, but I never got around to tasting it until now. Certainly a solid wine, but nothing spectacular. Grapefruit and pineapple are predominate, and there is a bit of weight that plays well. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
NV Gardet Champagne Brut Premier Cru: Retail $50. 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier. We went to our new BYO during the Snowmaggedon and nothing says blizzard like Premier Cru Champers (except, of course, Grand Cru champagne). Citrusy brightness with plenty of depth. This was really fantastic as I watched the snow fall. Well, it was more of a horizontal snow “fall”. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2003 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Côte-Rôtie Les Jumelles: Retail $80. 100% Syrah. It was snowing and we decided to lock the kids in the basement and head to the new BYO in our ‘hood. It’s a Northern Italian resto but I tend to bring French in those instances (just the way I roll). And Côte Rôtie is near the top of that list. Still plenty of fruit after all these years even from a difficult vintage. Rich and integrated, this might be a wine from which dreams are made. One bottle left, need to drink soon. Remind me (I was going to say since I will still be dreaming, but that would be over-the-top cornball). Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2001 Ridge Home Ranch: Retail $65. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 49% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot. Holy cow. Dark red fruit with a bit of tobacco. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. On the palate? Whoa. Fruit for sure, but depth. And more depth. Whoa. This is one of the best Bordeaux blends I’ve had from California. Outstanding Plus. 94-96 Points.
2012 Uvaggio (L’Uvaggio di Giacomo) Primitivo: Retail $18. We were having chili that was left over from my wife’s annual overestimation of how much people eat during the Super Bowl. I had a few Pinot samples to taste, but this was clearly a better option for the mildly hot chili. Pleasant nose with plenty of fruit, the wine comes off as almost sweet, which is a nice foil to the heat of the dish. Not a world beater, but I got this for $9 from Last Bottle–an everyday price if there ever was one. Very Good. 86-88 Points.
WINE of the WEEK: The Wine of the Week this go around was rather straight-forward once again. Sure, the Gardet Champagne was stellar (I am happy to have another 5 bottles) and it was a champagne so that automatically put it in the running (although the same can not be said about the Chalvon: a nice bottle of bubbles but nothing to write about–although obviously I just did). Then there was the 2003 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Côte-Rôtie, an amazing bottle of wine from a very difficult year. That summer there was an intense heat wave across France and many of the vignerons had no idea how to handle all their incredible ripe (and often shriveled) fruit. I struggled riding my bike all over the country that summer, too, with temperatures often soaring well into the 90s or even triple digits, which is rare in France. Two nice bottles, but this week’s Wine of the Week is the 2001 Ridge Home Ranch. I actually bought the bottle back in 2005 from the Pennsylvania State Store for a mere $30. I was a poor grad student at the time, my wife was just starting her career, and our first son was a week short of his second birthday. Not exactly the time to drop $30 on a wine you had no intention of drinking any time soon, at least that is what my wife sternly said at the time. Once the bottle was open and there was some of the wine in her glass, I reminded her of that story. She took a sip of the wine, put her glass back on the table, smiled with satisfaction, and calmly said: “I have no recollection of that whatsoever.”
What was your Wine of the Week?