If all goes as planned (i.e., the Air France strike did not screw up my travel), I should be on a plane back to Philadelphia when this is published. We consumed many of these wines a few weeks ago, but I had not had the chance to publish the notes until now.
Also, you can still vote for my blogpost, “Ohmygod 39–Into the Widow’s Cellar” in the Wine Blog Awards HERE.
2011 Argyle Riesling: Retail $22. I bought a case of this a year and a half ago and the first few bottles were less than compelling. Yes, there was fruit, but not all that much in the depth department. The last half-dozen bottles, however, have really been a pleasure to drink—nice acidity and citrus fruit. This wine works well on itself or with some lighter dishes. Very Good. 88-90 Points.
1996 Château Bastor-Lamontagne: Retail $35 (375 ml). 80% Sémillon, 18% Sauvignon, 2% Muscadelle. In the glass I picked up honey and a bit of astringency and is a rather dark amber color. Fantastic balance with the exact right amount of sweetness and acidity. This is pretty much balls to the walls from beginning to end. We have not been drinking a ton of dessert wine as of late, but with the weather getting colder, we need to pull a few more out.
2011 Clos Pepe Estate Chardonnay Barrel Fermented: Retail $35. 100% Chardonnay.Another bottle that we opened for the plethora of Chardonnay Days that fell upon us last month. Tart and precise with plenty of acidity and fruit. Although known as a Pinot region, Sta Rita Hills can produce wonderful Chardonnays and this is one of the better Chards from the region. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2007 Marcel Deiss Engelgarten: Retail $60. Field blend of Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Beurot, Muscat, and Pinot Noir. I bought several of these a while ago, but have not cracked one. This was another case of wanting to try out a few older wines to see where they are before packing them up for the move to Texas. If this bottle is indicative of the others, there is no need to panic. Rich, tropical yet still fun, the wine is wonderfully balanced with great acidity, fruit, and just a hint of sweetness. Giddy-up. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2003 Louis Jadot Moulin-à-Vent Clos de Rochegrès Château des Jacques: Retail $45. 100% Gamay. 2003 was an extreme year in France: a record-breaking heat wave for practically the entire summer with very little rain. Thus, many winemakers struggled, not used to high sugar levels and severely stressed vines. That comes through in this wine as a bit stewed on the nose and palate. Still drinkable and pleasant, but clearly this wine fell victim to the vintage. Very Good. 88-90 Points.
1993 Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley: Retail $65? As I struggled mightily to extract the cork, I could hear my wife mumble: “See? You always wait too long!” I was worried, thinking she might just be correct. Once the cork was out and there was some wine in the glass, it was clear that her hasty assessment was off-base. This was an impressive wine with good fruit solid depth. Really nice. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2005 Domaine Rolet Arbois Vin de Paille: Retail $80. 375 ml. 40% Chardonnay, 40% Savagnin, 20% Poulsard. For those of you who like dessert wine but have never tried a vin de pail from the Jura region in Eastern France, what is the hold-up? Vin de pail is a dessert wine where the grapes are picked and then let to dry to further concentrate the flavors and sugars. I had this wine at the end of the evening after many other wines were consumed. Suffice it to say this wine is good. Stupid good. Nutty, fruity, and quite sweet, this wine is certainly one of the better balanced dessert wines I have had. Whoa. Plus. Outstanding+. 94-96 Points.
WINE of the WEEK: There are times in your life that you really need to stop and contemplate how lucky you have been. Obviously, life is not always a bottle of champagne, but every day we get to spend above ground is a good one in my book. For me, I often look at a bottle of wine and it reminds me of certain segments of my life and reflect on times past. present, and even future. That was the case when I opened the bottle of 2005 Domaine Rolet Arbois Vin de Paille. I immediately thought of Pierre Rolet, whom I had run into just a few weeks prior at a tasting in New York. Then I thought of the person who first introduced me to Rolet wines (who is also indirectly responsible for how I met my would be wife) and how he encouraged me to visit while riding through the Jura. Then there was the wine itself. As I mentioned in the note, even if you are not a huge fan of dessert wines in general, you really should try Vin de Paille at some point in your life. I have yet to have one that isn’t fantastic, and who knows? You might find a connection in the bottle that will lead you to your spouse!
What was your Wine of the Week?