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 Clos Pepe Estate Pinot Noir: Retail $50. I am not entirely certain, but I believe that Clos Pepe was my gateway wine to high quality American Pinot. For those that have had the pleasure of meeting Wes Hagen, they likely will never forget the encounter. The wine? Light in color, but strong in heart, with aromas of tart cherry, menthol, and eucalyptus. This is perhaps not as robust as other iterations of the Clos, but that is what is great about the winery. Perhaps more than any other California Pinot, Clos Pepe exhibits more vintage variation. Is that a good thing? I think so. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2008 Cobb Pinot Noir Emmaline Ann: Retail $70. I really wanted to be blown away by this wine as I have been a huge fan of Hirsch Wines (where Ross Cobb was the winemaker for many years), but the “winds” in this wine were rather tame. A bit stewed on the nose, and rather blasé on the palate, there were still some noticeable tannins and above average fruit. In the end? Not bad by any means but worth of the tariff? Ummm…. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2004 Domaine du Coulet (Matthieu Barret) Cornas Les Terrasses du Serre: Retail $65. 100% Syrah. Dark cherry and earth. Whoa. I was worried about this wine as it does not have the most glowing reviews on CT. But those were written a while ago. Now? Whoa. There is a bit of funk with the dark cherry, which is good. And there is verve. Which is extra-good. On the palate, tart and more verve. Whoa. Earthy and ethereal, this is gangbusters. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
NV Gardet Champagne Premier Cru Brut: Retail $40. 60% Pinot Meunier, 40% Pinot Noir. I got a case of this wine from Last Bottle and the first half were fantastic, but while this was still Very Good, it was certainly a bit lacking in effervescence. Citrus notes meld wonderfully with the yeastiness of a freshly baked loaf of bread. Yeah, a few more bubbles would have been nice, but that is true concerning just about every experience in life. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
2007 Siduri Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard: Retail $55. I have a special place in my heart for both Siduri and Clos Pepe. I have met both Adam Lee of Siduri and Wes Hagen of Clos Pepe on numerous occasions (including one where we were all making pizza on the Clos Pepe patio), so I am perhaps a bit biased. While I think the Clos Pepe label is the best iteration of the vineyard, Siduri is a clos (pun intended) second. Great, rich (and slightly stewed) fruit serves as a welcome, with intense flavors and depth on the mid-palate. The finish is admirable and long. Whoa. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2008 Skewis Pinot Noir Peters Vineyard: Retail $45. This is my last 2008 Peters, which is a shame. Why? Well, I know Randy Peters and I would consider him, well, an acquaintance. Another acquaintance, Hank Skewis, is an incredibly nice man and a brilliant winemaker. This wine? A bit dark (in color) with brooding fruit (blackberry and cassis). On the palate, young, luscious fruit with just a hint of stewedness (is that a word?). After the fruit, though, there is plenty of intrigue and finesse. Wow, this is good. Hank is retiring, but his wines will live on. And if this wine is any indication, they will live on for some time. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: It is funny how things work out. Last week, we had mostly champagne over the course of the week, while this go around it was decidedly a Pinot Noir kind of week (although we did seem to squeeze in a bottle of bubbles, too). All the bottles were fantastic, but based on this bottle, I would say that I need to get to the other three bottles of the ’08 Clos Pepe soon. The ’07 Siduri was fantastic, particularly after the initial hint of cork taint blew off. We also managed to sneak a Syrah into the mix, a wonderful wine from the oft forgotten region of Cornas, which seems to suffer from its proximity to the more renowned Hermitage and Côte Rotie. Well, it shouldn’t, as the ’04 Domaine du Coulet clearly asserted. The two Clos and the Cornas were all fine wines and all worthy of WotW honors, but all of which I have at least two more bottles. So this week, I opted for the 2008 Skewis Pinot Noir Peters Vineyard, which I tasted side-by-side with the other ’08 Pinots on the list, and it was clearly the best of the three. As I mentioned in the note, Hank and Maggie recently retired, and with them goes their brand. It appears that their wines are no longer available from their website, so if you see a bottle of Skewis in a retail store, snatch it up. Trust me.
What was your Wine of the Week?