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. 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).
2006 32 Winds Cabernet Sauvignon: Retail $65. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. It has been almost a year since our last bottle, and I am happy to report that this gem crafted by Ehren Jordan is doing just fine, thank you very much. This bottle was a bit more stewed on the nose than I recall, but on the palate, it is every bit as rich as I remember it. Blackberry dominates here, but there is also anise, vanilla, and plenty of depth. I still hate the really heavy bottle, though, which really serves no purpose. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2008 Cosentino Winery The Poet: Retail $45. 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Merlot. I have a couple of handfuls of Poets left and I will be sad to see them go. This was certainly a gateway wine for me—it was the first to show me how California wines can be incredible as I was just starting to flit around the edges of the Golden State’s wine scene. I believe this was the first Poet produced after Mitch Cosentino no longer controlled his eponymous winery. And it shows. Sure, it is a nice wine, with blackberry and bramble, solid mouthfeel, and well above average finish. But it is not how I am going to remember the Poet—for me the Poet was the quintessential Meritage—the Bordeaux blend American style. Oh well, a few more older bottles to go. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2014 Château d’Esclans Whispering Angel: Retail $25. Grenache, Rolle, Cinsault. I am a firm believer that rosé is not just a summer sipper—it should be consumed all year. Having said that, it was in the ’80’s here in Houston for a good part of February and on this particular day I was in a rush to get the kids fed and off to a basketball game. Rosé sounded like the perfect antidote. Despite the obnoxious popularity of this wine, it is one of my favorites from the region. It is also proof that intentional rosés (grapes that are grown with the expressed intention that they be made into a rosé—i.e., not a saignée) do not have to be consumed immediately. Muted berry fruit, but fantastic tartness and a finish that lasts for minutes. Châpeau Sacha! Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
NV Mailly Champagne Grand Cru Demi-Sec: Retail $45. 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay. The last bottle of this was a decided disappointment. I bought these several years ago (2007) and after tasting the first one, I was kicking myself for waiting too long. Note: I have held onto NV champagnes before that had continued to mature nicely for over a decade, but I just considered the whole demi-sec thing threw it all off. Well, faith restored. Sure, this is older—the brioche notes are accented, there is a bit of mustiness, the mousse is struggling, and the color is well into “golden” but those flavors all meld wonderfully together with just the right amount of sweetness. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2004 Paul Pillot Saint-Aubin 1er Cru Le Charmois: Retail $55. 100% Chardonnay. Well, it seems as though I waited too long to get to the second bottle. That first bottle, way back in 2011 was pretty phenomenal, but this one seemed a bit tired—fairly golden, a hint of oxidation on the nose, and muted flavors on the palate. Sure, it is still drinkable, but it is a shell of its former self. Two bottles left—I might have to take a moment and cry. Not Rated.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Looking back over these wines, there certainly a bunch of contenders for WotW. Before any of them were opened, I probably would have put my money on the Paul Pilot Charmois since the last one I had (albeit five and a half years ago) was absolutely stellar. The 32 Winds, made by über-winemaker Ehren Jordan was truly a treat, but I still have a few of those left so I am sure its photo will grace this spot at some point. The Cosentino Poet was nice, but this lacked the swagger of earlier vintages, and the Whispering Angel is always stellar, but I have had so much of it at this point, that making it WotW seems slightly disingenuous for some reason. No, this week, I am opting for surprise, surprise,
La La Land a champagne, but not just any champagne—a bottle of NV Mailly Champagne Grand Cru Demi-Sec that I brought back from France and was one of the bottles that is affixed to the back of the bike in the photo on the top of this page. Not only was it far better than the previous bottle, but it brought back wonderful memories of riding my bike through the vineyards of Champagne.
What was your Wine of the Week?