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:
2003 Marcel Deiss Rotenberg: Retail $65. 50% Riesling, 50% Pinot Gris. Ah, Alsace, how you tempt me! I was worried as the candied, dark cork suggested that I had waited too long Then there was the golden color that added to my angst, but fear not: green apple, white peach with a small dose of petrol, but no sign of trouble, this is why it pays to hold onto great Alsatian wines. Whoa. Sweeter than I thought it would be, but also far better than I had hoped. The acidity plays exceedingly well with the fruit and sugar and this is phenomenal. Whoa. The best aspect? Easily the finish–it persists for minutes. Outstanding. 93-95 Points.
2006 Di Meo Taurasi Riserva: Retail $40. 100% Aglianico. I bought this a while ago on a bit of a whim. Well, that was quite a whim. A bit hot on the nose, but still a bit of blackberry fruit. On the palate, surprisingly fruity initially, followed by a wave of fruit. This is a real paradox–fruit and depth and a bit off funk. Lovely. Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2010 Rosenblum Cellars Zinfandel Rockpile Road Vineyard: Retail $35. I picked this up from the state wine store here in Pennsylvania for a decent price of $15. Rosenbaum is known for making some big Zins, but this is Big. Really, really big. I rode my bike up to the vineyard once, and it is stunningly beautiful, which I am not sure what that has to do with this note, but I thought I would throw that in here. The listed alcohol is 15.2%, but we all know that could mean just about anything. Stewed blackberry fruit and a bit hot on the nose, and on the palate? Big. Really, really big. Fruit, vanilla, oak, fruit, and a bit of heat. Oh, and fruit. If you like big, bombastic Zins, this is for you. And if you like big, tough climbs on your bike, riding up to Rockpile is for you too. See how I worked that in? Very Good. 88-90 Points.
2001 Trimbach Gewurztraminer Cuvée des Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre: Retail $40. A bit of color, lots of spice, and a hint of lemon followed by impressive acidity, a touch of sweetness and that Gewurz spice. A dozen plus years out and this is still gangbusters: makers in other countries need to take note–this is what Gewurztraminer can be. Like most great wines, the finish here is perhaps the most impressive as it persists for several minutes. Whoa. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
1998 Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos Windsbuhl: Retail $110. Almost amber in color with honeyed nuttiness on the nose. On the palate? Holy goodness. Whoa. Rich, unctuous, and sweet, this stops just short of a desert wine but oh my goodness this is outstanding. Nope, this is beyond outstanding: outstanding a go-go? It is late, almost 2 a.m., and there is more than a half of a bottle to go. Do I go to sleep? Or do I stay up? Put on a pot of coffee, the bottle is open and it needs to be drained. Outstanding. 95-97 Points.
WINES of the WEEK: As some of you know, I studied in Strasbourg, France for a year, and I consider myself an adopted son of the region. Whenever I open a bottle of Alsatian wine, it takes me back to the time I spent on the banks of the river L’ill sipping Pinot Gris from a green-stemmed glass, reading Proust and contemplating just about everything.
So this week, as the purge of my cellar continued and another wine writer came over for dinner, I figured it a good time to see how some of my older Alsatian wines were doing. Well, as you probably guessed, they are doing just fine. First up was the 2003 Marcel Deiss Rotenberg, which is essentially a field blend from the enigmatic Marcel Deiss. The overwhelming majority of wines from Alsace are single varietal wines, but most of Deiss’ wines are blends. This results in his wines being declassified, but clearly he doesn’t care, and after tasting his wines, neither should anyone else. Next up was the 2001 Trimbach Gewurztraminer Cuvée des Seigneurs de Ribeaulierre, which has to be one of my favorite Gewurztraminers. Some producers of the variety insist on over-emphasizing the spicy, floral nature of the grape, which to me makes it come off overly austere, even harsh. Not Trimbach. While they certainly celebrate the unique aspects of Gewurz, they do so while focused on the overall balance and harmony of the wine and the result is really a spectacular wine. Last, we popped the 1998 Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos Windsbuhl, which I found close to indescribable. I have been wondering when I should pop this bottle since I bought it well over a decade ago from Olivier Humbrecht himself at the winery. These days, any time I open a wine from the last millennium, I am a bit concerned that I waited a bit too long, but as soon as I poured this golden elixir into my stem and that honeyed nuttiness started wafting over the rim, I knew all was right with this wine. Was it ever.
What was your Wine of the Week?