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).
2008 Amelle Zinfandel Buck Hill Sonoma County: Retail $24. It has been a solid two years since I have had one of these beauties and it is quite possible that I am more a fan than ever: rich, luscious fruit as the tannins have subsided a bit. Still, this hold true to its cold climate upbringing as the wine is lithe, lively, and on the verge of lascivious, this wine has always over-delivered. Now, nearly a decade out, this still is a delight and if you are not a fan, we will never be friends. Ever. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2008 Argyle Pinot Noir Nuthouse Eola – Amity Hills: Retail $55. From the much heralded 2008 vintage, I have been holding onto a case of this wine since release. Was it worth it? After some initial shyness, this Pinot started to show its power. This is not delicate, by any means: still big, bruising (even slightly stewed) fruit nearly a decade out. A ton going on here with a brambly note, menthol, and hints of a forest floor. This is New World Pinot start to finish and me likey. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2010 Couly-Dutheil Chinon Les Chanteaux: Retail $25. Oxidized. Flawed.
2009 Gary Farrell Pinot Noir Carneros Selection: Retail $45. It has been a while since I have had a Gary Farrell Pinot, but based on this one, I will pop the next bottle much sooner. Black cherry, menthol, and plenty of earth. On the palate, this is nice and juicy with wave after wave of fruit, followed by depth and nice acidity. Even seven years out, this is doing just fine. No rush, but with four bottles left, I will be definitely cracking another soon. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2010 Gorman Winery Syrah The Pixie: Retail $50. Right before I pulled this cork, I had a bit of an exchange with Chris Gorman, the winemaker/owner of the winery. We were talking about rosé, but the conversation was germane to all styles. We had differing opinions about rosé, but it really pointed out that there are no wrong answers when it comes to wine. This wine is not shy—it is a big one—still rich flavors and fruit. It makes no apologies and is looking for no concessions. And I love it. Sure, it is not my preferred style, but it is magnificent. Far too much time (in both wine and politics) is spent belittling the opposition and far too little time celebrating brilliance. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2001 Patrick Lesec Châteauneuf-du-Pape Marquis: Retail $40. 90% Grenache, 7% Mourvèdre, 3% Syrah. Well. I bought this several years ago from a guy online that I trusted. Well. That changed dramatically. To say that there is a little Brettanomyces on this wine is akin to saying, the tinge of Catholic on the post is negligible. I had hoped that it would blow off in the 5+ years since my last bottle, but no. Undrinkable.
WINE OF THE WEEK: I am sitting here in California, watching the rain pour down. For those of you who know California weather patterns, you know that rain in mid-April is unusual. I had planned on riding my bike a ton this week, but only eked out about 110 miles, which is a disappointment. Oh well. What made the week tolerable was visiting several wineries, most of them new to me. We also put away a fair share of wine at the family dinners and looking back over my notes, it seemed like the wine was either Outstanding (and 91-93 Points) or undrinkable. Odd week. All four of the “drinkable” wines were stellar, the Gorman Syrah was made a little more special by a Facebook conversation with the winemaker, Chris Gorman; the ’08 Argyle was the first of a solid case I have of the wine, and did not disappoint; and Gary Farrell remains one of my favorites in Sonoma County. This month, though, I decided to go with the 2008 Amelle Zinfandel Buck Hill Sonoma County. I first met the Winemaker, Eric Buffington, at Freeman Winery, where he was the assistant winemaker. While he is no longer at Freeman, I was once again at that winery this week, where the owner, Ken Freeman, and I reminisced about our mutual buddy.
What was your Wine of the Week?