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).
2014 Acquiesce Belle Blanc: Retail $26. Grenache Blanc, Roussanne & Viognier. Owner and winemaker Sue Tipton is a Lodi treasure. Sue uniquely pairs her white wine only Rhone varietal line-up (well, there is also a rosé), with bite-sized nibbles that she prepares herself. This Belle Blanc (je choisis d’ignorer le problème là) is both tropical and mineral, and while initially a bit round, it finishes with considerable acidity and the Viognier really comes through. Lovely. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2006 Brewer-Clifton Pinot Noir Cargasacchi Vineyard: Retail $55. We opened this on the same night as the 2007 Siduri Amber Ridge (see below), and while the Siduri was incredible, this topped it. Slightly. Whoa. So this is not a subtle Pinot. This falls more into the “balls to the walls” style of Pinot. More than ample fruit, great depth. Whoa, and a holy cow. Fantastic. Outstanding. 94-96 Points.
2005 Cosentino Winery Syrah: Retail $22. I have had this for a while. Why? No good reason, by this was the last of the lot. Tons of sediment line the bottle and loads of fruit exude from the glass along with some mocha and smoke. This wine surprised me on so many levels. Great fruit, depth, verve. Just short of a whoa. Fantastic. Outstanding 91-93 Points
2014 Château de L’Escarelle Côteaux Varois Cuvée 1718: From Magnum. Retail $50. A blend of mostly Grenache and Syrah. Nothing says “welcome to summer” more than a magnum of rosé, and this bottle that I brought back from Provence last year was exemplary. Really pale orange with slate and faint peach on the nose. Great acidity and a vibrant midpalate with a weighty finish. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2007 Siduri Pinot Noir Amber Ridge: Retail $50. Who says that Adam Lee’s Pinot Noirs can’t age? I admit that I am a bit of a fanatic when it comes to aging wines and there have been times that I have been burned (read any of my comments on White Burgundy), but when you get one right, it is incredible. Fruity and bombastic on the nose. But on the palate? Holy cow. Throws a bit of sediment but completely worth not realizing that until it was a bit too late. Whoa. Outstanding. 93-95 Points.
2007 Soléna Pinot Noir Domaine Danielle Laurent: From magnum. Retail $90. My wife actually “won” this bottle of wine at an auction a few years ago. I write “won” since she had to actually pay for the bottle (I believe it was at a fundraiser for her work) and she did all her bidding without consulting you-know-who. As a result, for a bottle that costs $90 at the winery, she paid $125. She defended herself with the “good cause” argument and since she works with very sick children, what could I say? Black cherry and earth. Great tartness and still plenty of fruit. Fantastic. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Each time I write a recap of What We Have Been Drinking, I realize that I am pretty darned lucky. No, I do not have the world’s best cellar, but I have been able to purchase a few bottles along the way. Most of the wine has been acquired with my wife somewhere near by and invariably she has the same question when I pull out the credit card: “So when are we going to be able to drink THIS one?” She knows that I have a penchant for aging wines as I consider “age” to be the most difficult component of a wine to experience. Since most wineries usually only sell their current releases, drinking a California Pinot, for example, with a decade or more of age on it either takes a bit of patience or considerable luck, both of which it seems I have been able to display over the years. The 2005 Cosentino Syrah I bought from the Pennsylvania state store in 2007 for $10. The 2007 Siduri Amber Ridge we bought at the winery on a day in 2009 when they happened to be offering them for 25% off. I had purchased six of the former and four of the latter and the share two characteristics: these were the last of my bottles of each and I wish that I had bought more (of both) since they are certainly worthy of Wine of the Week honors. This week, however, I opted for the 2006 Brewer-Clifton Pinot Noir Cargasacchi Vineyard, which I purchased from an online retailer for about $35. I have one bottle left of this beauty. Anyone interested in coming by to share?
What was your Wine of the Week?