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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 Arcadian Pinot Noir Sleepy Hollow Vineyard: Retail $50. After popping one bottle to find it corked, I ran back to the cellar to grab another. Glad I did. While the nose is a bit muted and shy, the palate is full-blown goodness. Tart black cherry, a touch of anise, and a splash of pepper, this is fabulous. While I am in no big rush to drink the remaining two bottles, neither am I going to wait close to a decade to drink these 2008 beauties. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
NV Herbert Beaufort Champagne Grand Cru Carte d’Or Tradition Brut: Retail $55. 90% Pinor Noir, 10% Chardonnay. There are certain bottles in your cellar that you just do not want to open. They might be attached to a precious memory, they might require (at least in your mind) a special occasion, or they might just be so damned good that you only want to open them with friends who will appreciate it. The third option was the case with this wine. I don’t think I have met a wine from Bouzy that I have not loved—there is something about the Pinot Noir grown in the region that makes me go gaga. Champagne from Bouzy is my desert island kind of wine, my last dinner kind of beverage, and Beaufort does Bouzy right: Slightly golden and slightly warm but oh so good. Rich baked bread, combined with delicate citrus, this is Grand Cru Pinot rat its best: rich, full-bodied, and bold but also floral. If you want to put a little “Whoa” in your life, buy beaucoup bottles of Beaufort Bouzy. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2012 Couly-Dutheil Chinon Rosé Domaine René Couly: Retail $20. 100% Cabernet Franc. I don’t know—it would require a bit more research, but I feel that I am one of maybe a dozen people in the world that would hold on to a rosé for a year or two. When the age since vintage becomes 5 years? I am pretty sure that I am in rarefied air, which surprises me since a well-made rosé can age just like any other wine. Sure, some of the “freshness” that many find appealing in a rosé fades, but there are many secondary aromas and flavors that develop. This wine has almost five years on it, but it is still going strong, making me wish this was not my last bottle. Reduced fruit but luscious with mostly herbal notes and a bit of menthol. On the palate, however, crazy strawberry fruit and still plenty of acidity. Proof that a well-made Rosé can age. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2006 Jacquart Champagne Brut Millésimé: Retail $60. 52% Pinot Noir, 48% Chardonnay. I took a bottle of this to a friend’s house out-of-state. On first sniff, it seemed as though it was a bit older than I thought it would be. After tasting it, I realized it was corked—no overly so, but certainly there was some TCA involved. I, for one, still enjoyed the wine—sure it was not what it “should be” but there where still great flavors and bubbles. Others, however, immediately put their respective glasses aside as if I had suggested that they contained elevated traces of cyanide—even one guy who had vehemently argued that the wine was NOT corked. I just don’t understand it. This bottle, though, was stellar: brioche, caramel, lemon curd, and just a hint of oxidation—all of what I love in aged champagne. Just short of a Whoa. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: This week was rather odd in that I experienced a couple of corked wines. While corked wines are still far too prevalent, there is still some dispute as to how often it occurs. If you ask the proponents of alternative closures, they claim that cork taint is right around 10%, but I have yet to find any user of cork to claim even 5% of their corks being noticeably affected by TCA. Nonetheless, finding two out of six bottles (33%) is fairly high (yes, I realize that I am distorting the average by limiting the sample to just these six bottles, but that is a discussion for another forum) and convinced me that the world was conspiring against me this week. Choosing a Wine of the Week from the “good” bottles, though, was no simple task. The 2012 Couly-Dutheil rosé was the perfect example of my contention that well-made rosé can indeed age gracefully. I am excited to still have two bottles of both the 2008 Arcadian Sleepy Hollow Pinot and the 2006 Jacquart Champagne to pop at some special moment (like “Tuesday” or “Thursday”), but the wine of the week this go around belongs to the NV Herbert Beaufort Champagne Grand Cru Carte d’Or Tradition Brut. Not only was it a stellar bottle of wine, but as with so many bottles, it reminded me of part of my past. I bought a case of this champagne from the much derided Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board for a mere $25/bottle as I was driving out of Philadelphia for the last time on our move to Houston, almost a year ago to the day. It brought back a host of wonderful memories and plenty of nostalgia of our time spent there—just one of the magical qualities one can find in a bottle of wine.
What was your Wine of the Week?