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.
2006 32 Winds Pinot Noir: Retail $65. Alright, faith restored. I have decided that I will no longer talk about that first bottle that I had of this wine a few years ago that was, well, less than inspiring. Since, this is the third consecutive stellar bottle. I will even go further—this is the perfect example of why I hold onto wine as nothing is finer than a great Pinot with a bit of age (well, there is older champagne…). Black raspberry fruit, eucalyptus, and some mint on the nose, and on the palate? Whoa. Rich and beautiful with blackberry and bramble, that mint shows up briefly, but the tannins are integrated and this is simply luscious. Whoa. Outstanding Plus. 94-96 Points.
2009 Argyle Brut Oregon: Retail $30. 59% Pinot Noir, 41% Chardonnay. Well, my wife grabbed this from the cellar unbeknownst to me and plopped this into the fridge hours before I got home. I arrived moments before dinner and there was really no time to chill another, so I went with it. Can’t say that I am disappointed. Previous bottles were solid, but this has more of the biscuit/brioche/baked bread aspect that defines good sparklers (at least for me). It is buoyed by fantastic tartness and a constant fizz. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2006 Bergström Pinot Noir Cumberland Reserve Willamette Valley: Retail $60. I recently moved from Philadelphia to Houston (yeah…) and I had my considerable amount of wine shipped down, which sat in storage for a good 3-4 months. I recently opened a bunch of whites, and all were oxidized. I sat in my newly constructed cellar, dejected: I feared that somewhere along the way, all (or at least most) of the wine somehow spoiled. Thus tonight, when my wife cooked a wonderful pork tenderloin sous-vide, I was reluctantly anxious to try this wine. Looking at my previous notes, I had mixed feelings. Well, not tonight. A rich, opulent Pinot, certainly: succulent, full, big-boned, but oh so tasty. Round red fruit, balanced tartness, and even a hint of tannin on the back-end. This delivers on many levels, not the least of which is a bit more confidence in the rest of my cellar. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2013 Cecchi Chianti Classico: Retail $18. 100% Sangiovese. I visited Cecchi this Fall and they really have an impressive operation. Sure, they are a large producer in Tuscany, but I really do feel as though they are turning out high quality wines made with integrity. I received the 2014 as a sample, but still had a couple of bottles of the 2013 for a mini-vertical. Slightly dark with herb laden fruit (rosemary, thyme) and just a hint of funk (I love the funk). Mellow fruit and plenty of earth, this was a wonderful pairing with the sausage meatball pasta. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2009 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Chardonnay Arthur: Retail $35. I had my doubts about this wine, as I have had a few wines that were well-beyond oxidized, and while this was golden in the glass and a bit honeyed on the nose, on the palate this showed subtle fruit and great acidity. Very nice. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2000 Van Der Heyden Sémillon Estate: Retail $75. I bought these close to a dozen years ago and watched as the color evolved from pale yellow to golden to a bit past caramel. The nose is amazing as there is plenty of caramel, a touch of walnut, and more than a hint of coffee. On the palate, this is rich and unctuous with layers of caramel, hazelnut, and marzipan. Whoa. Outstanding. 92-93 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: It has been a good long while since I have chosen a wine of the week, but rather than discuss the reasons why, I will just dive right in. This week there was plenty to chose from as the three Oregon wines (Argyle Brut, Bergström Cumberland Reserve, and the Drouhin Arthur) were all at the top of their respective games and were all outstanding. Then there was the 32 Winds Pinot that really took my breath away, which would usually be more than enough to garner the coveted WotW award. Instead, I decided to go with the 2000 Van Der Heyden Sémillon Estate. Why? Well, Van der Heyen was one of the very first wine clubs that I ever joined. It is a tiny, rather run-down (they say “quaint” and “charming”) tasting room at the southern end of the Silverado Trail. Back when I lived in Marin, I would often stop there at the end of the day to have a sip of this Sauternes style dessert wine. It has taken on quite a bit of color over the years, but it every bit as tasty.
What was your Wine of the Week?