Once a staple here on this blog, I have not posted many “What We Have Been Drinking” posts in the last six months (only four, for those wondering). These are wines that were not sent as samples—in most cases, I actually paid for these wines (although a few have been given as gifts). When I moved down here to Houston, I shipped the wine down and it had been in storage until recently.
A couple of weeks ago, though, I finished building my cellar and all of those bottles have been released from their purgatory.
2014 Erath Pinot Noir Oregon: Retail $19. We held our first little house-warming here in Houston and invited over the entire neighborhood. Plenty of people showed up and one of them brought this as a gift. As we were watching Santa Claus is Coming to Town for the fourteenth time, I twisted it open. I am an unabashed fan of Oregon Pinot, and the screw top on this bottle only enhanced the experience. Sure, this is rather fruity, but there is a little funk, which lends to its charm. Don’t make this the wine that you choose to serve when you propose to your girlfriend, but it certainly can be the bottle that you take to the guy’s night out poker game. Unless, of course, one of those poker players is named Dugat or Leroy. Fruity and fun. Grab a pizza. Good to Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2010 Failla Chardonnay Sonoma Coast: Retail $45. Despite its whopping score of 99 in the Wine Enthusiast, the community on Cellar Tracker (an online cellar management tool that I wholeheartedly endorse) says that this wine should have been consumed by 2013. Um. Huh? Ehren Jordan is one of the more talented winemakers in Napa and this is a good example why. Slightly golden color, but a rich and welcoming nose of lemon curd and oleander. On the palate, this is as rich as the nose hinted, but it also has an active acidity to balance it out. I hope there are not people who were in a rush to drink this as it seems to be in a really good place right now. I am going to hold on to the other bottles for a few more years. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2012 Gruet Winery Grand Blanc de Noirs Limited Release New Mexico: Retail $30. By 7:00 it had been a long day. A very long day. I moved to Houston four months ago from Philadelphia and all my wine has been in storage ever since. And I have not touched it at all. 123 cases sitting there, costing me $300 a month to keep cool in the sauna that is Houston. Until today. Today, on the coldest day of the year (33°), I rented a U-Haul and drove over to the storage facility, loaded up the 10 dozen plus boxes and high-tailed it home (actually, I drove a good 10 miles per hour below the speed limit on surface streets, which still did not prevent nearly all the boxes to be strewn every which way in the back of the truck). By 7:00, and after unloading 47 cases, I needed a break. Not a “Phew, let’s call it a day and celebrate!” kind of break, but rather a “Crap, I am not even half way done, but my back is killing me and I need some bubbles” kind of a break. And this hit the spot. Golden color, a bit nutty, and frankly a bit tired (or was that me?). Perhaps it has slipped a bit due to its arduous journey, but honestly, I didn’t care. It was cold, wet, and invigorating. Back to the boxes! Unrated.
2006 Lemelson Vineyards Pinot Noir Thea’s Selection: Retail $35. I have been to the Willamette a few times now, but I have never made my way over to Lemelson. Why? I have no idea, but this ’06 Thea’s has convinced me to make a pilgrimage: subtle nose with some stewed cherry and caramel. On the palate, this is very nice, with wonderful balance and a touch of earth. Fantastic pairing with the grilled salmon. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2009 St. Innocent Chardonnay Dijon Clone Freedom Hill Vineyard: Retail $25. I just finished my wine cellar, hours before my in-laws arrived and when arrived, they wanted a Chardonnay. They are not the most sophisticated drinkers, but they really do give it the college try. This wine brings back a lot of memories of the first International Pinot Noir Celebration I attended in 2010, none of which I can recount here (let’s just say it involves nudity–and not the good kind). Instantly, it was clear that there was some oxidation here, but the wine was still kicking. Sure, it was a bit tired, but there was enough there to indicate this was once a stellar wine. Unrated.
WINE of the WEEK: This first week back in a while, I decided against any singular wine of the week, but rather I decided to end with a picture of my completed cellar. We converted a closet in our new house to a jam-packed wine cellar complete with racks that I installed myself (and purchased from Wine Cellar Innovations) and a cooling unit that I was smart enough to have someone else install (AABC Wine Cellars here in Houston).