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:
2011 Chapillon Clos de los Cuarzos Priorat: Retail $25. 70% Garnacha, 20% Syrah, 10% Carignan. As one might expect, rather dark in the glass and a bit brooding on the nose with dark berry fruit and just the slightest funk. Past the lips, there is certainly fruit, but in that classic old world, reserved style. Most would likely contend that this wine is a confluence of old and new worlds and that is just fine by me. It just might be time to follow some of the newer approaches to “old world wine”–wine does not have to be either overly fruity nor too acidic. Both can exist in harmony. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2005 John Duval Wines Plexus: Retail $37. Shiraz 50%, Grenache 34%, Mourvèdre 16%. Well the time away from this wine seems to have done it a world of good. Rather dark in the glass and a bit brooding on the nose with jammy blackberry and a bit of heat (14.5%). Thick and rich with impressive fruit still dominant up front. The fruit never gives way, but it lets a bit of complexity through eventually. The finish is quite impressive. See? Even big wines can benefit from a little age from time to time. Outstanding. 93-95 Points.
2012 Bodegas Franco-Españolas Rioja Royal White: Retail $15. 100% Viura. I have not had a ton of experience with these wines, but if those experiences I have had are any indication, I need to buy a bunch more white Rioja. White peach and grapefruit, bright acidity and verve, this is both a great food wine and the perfect patio pacifier. I really enjoyed this. A lot. Very Good. 88-90 Points.
2000 Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Brut Millésimé: Retail $60. When I was doing an inventory, I found this bottle that I thought I had consumed it a while ago. Happy to have “another” bottle, I popped this after a long week with my wife out of town. Like the others, it was fairly clear that this was on the downward slope. Incredibly austere with a bit of oxidation, this screams “old” but that is fine with me. I love old champagne and this is no different. But do not wait much longer. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2004 Jean-Victor Senner Gewurztraminer Steinweg: Retail 8€. A golden yellow out of the bottle with lychee, guava, and white grape. Certainly off-dry, perhaps more with ample fruit and a chalky finish. I bought this several years ago in Paris and it certainly seems to have held up well. Very Good. 88-90 Points.
2007 Skewis Pinot Noir Peters Vineyard: Retail $55. There are not many Pinot producers that I would put ahead of Hank Skewis, and this is a perfect example why. Almost nine years out, this wine is pretty much gangbusters: bing cherry and earth with a bit of anise. Still very fruity up front, with depth coming through mid-way. Plenty of depth. As I have said before, Hank is a genius, and this bears witness. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
WINE of the WEEK: If I had lined all these wines up ahead of time and chose the Wine of the Week before drinking any of them, it would have been a different result. First, there was the ’07 Skewis Peters Pinot Noir. I have been saying for some time now that Hank Skewis is one of my favorite winemakers and this wine was a perfect example why. Hank’s wines are usually reserved yet deep, with rich flavors–his wines are not big fruit blockbusters but rather fine expressions of how intricate California Pinot can be. Second, there was the ’00 Piper-Heidsieck Brut. Pretty much anytime there is a vintage champagne in the mix, it is going to be in the running for Wine of the Week. I “found” this bottle as I was taking inventory in the cellar (for some reason I had marked it as consumed already), and since the last two bottles seemed to be in decline, I popped this as soon as I could. Certainly my kind of champagne, but I am glad I did not wait any longer. I would have put the 2005 John Duval Wines Plexus a solid third on the list of candidates, but it easily came out on top. I do not drink a ton of Australian wines (although I hope to change that soon), and few of them are made by the long-time winemaker of Penfolds’ iconic wine, Grange. The wine was close to breathtaking and one of the top Aussie wines I have had to date, and I am very happy to have two more bottles.
What was your Wine of the Week?