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).
NV Herbert Beaufort Champagne Grand Cru Carte d’Or Tradition Brut: Retail $65. 90% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay. I have to say that it does not take all that much to get me in a good mood—I have been pretty blessed in this life and, well, being negative is just not in my repertoire any more. Yesterday, though, really sucked. Bad news after horrible news and people acting like politicians all day long. So today, I took the proverbial bull by the horns and decided that it would be different. I was creative at work, I went for a long ride, and I put this bottle in the fridge. If “Bouzy” on a label can’t turn around my mood, well nothing can. Tarter than previous bottles, but still plenty of creamy goodness to go around. I love champagne for countless reasons, but at the top of the list is that it is an instant mood changer. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2009 Bokisch Vineyards Garnacha Terra Alta Vineyard: Retail $20. Markus Bokisch sells this for $20 on his website, but he could easily get more: fairly light in color, but bold in aromas of blackberry jam and rhubarb. The fruit is just a tad forward as it is juicy and subtly rich. Plenty of depth on the mid-palate, and a gravelly, luscious finish. Five years out this is still lively, delightful, and not going anywhere soon. I have three more bottles, and I am going to try to show a bit of restraint. Try. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2010 Gary Farrell Chardonnay Carneros Selection: Retail $35. Gary Farrell is a winery that, when asked, I always recommend to my friends visiting Sonoma County for very good reasons: the view is incredible, the people are exceedingly nice, and the wine is stellar. Unfortunately, this bottle was corked. Not terribly so, but still…. Too bad, but that is the way it goes. Flawed.
1999 Foreau Clos Naudin Sec: After the debacle that was my case of Couly-Dutheil Les Chanteaux, I hesitated ordering a Chenin with some age. Glad I pulled the trigger. Whoa. Foreau is a top producer in Vouvray and this is exactly why. As the decanted golden elixir spilled into my glass, I got wafts of orange rind, caramel, and walnut. Whoa. I knew I would soon be in a happy place–back to my days of riding among the chalk cliff troglodyte homes along the Loire River in Central France. I have said before that I could smell a wine for hours, but this time I mean it. Whoa. On the palate this is ethereal: great weight and flavors. Oxidative? Certainly. For everyone? Decidedly not. But this is a transformative wine, one that you hope never ends. One you want to save for those nights when you question what is going on with the world. This wine will set your mind straight once more and assure you that beauty still exists. In spades. Outstanding. 94-96 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: OK, this was an easy one. In fact, this might have been the easiest choice for Wine of the Week that I have had since starting this blog. Truth be told, I actually had this wine a couple of months ago while in New York City, but the note I wrote on my iPhone remained buried in between much less exciting musings until this week. So while I did not technically drink the wine this week, I have no doubt that it would have garnered WotW honors during the actual week that I consumed it (and every subsequent week for that matter). Thus, I do not feel even the slightest tinge of guilt for selecting the 1999 Foreau Clos Naudin Sec as the Wine of the Week. Not only was it a stellar wine on its own, it served to reinforce my faith in aged Chenin and might have catapulted Foreau to the top of the list of my favorite Loire producers.
What was your Wine of the Week?