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).
2015 Adler Fels Chardonnay The Eagle Rock: Retail $20. this is a blend of wines from two of California’s top Chardonnay regions (50% Russian River Valley, 50% Monterey), and while I have spent far more time in the former, if you have never been to Monterey, it really should be on your bucket list. I was there several years ago with my girlfriend (she is now my wife, so just pump the brakes a bit) and we were amazed: the geography is stunning and the towns are charming. The wine? While certainly full-bodied and rich, it is far from over-bearing: tropical notes with subtle oak accents, this tastes like a Chard closer to twice its price. My advice? Buy a few bottles and open early in the week, which will help get you over the hump. Or, save them for Saturday, for a bit of weekend hedonism. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
NV Gruet Winery Brut Blanc de Noirs: Retail $15. 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay. I have said this before, but it bears repeating: this might be the single best value in sparkling wine on the market today. I paid a total of $10.03 for this (including tax), and that makes this gangbusters in my book. I do have a problem with the wine, though: how can they call this a “Blanc de Noirs” when it has 25% Chardonnay (“Blanc de Noirs” means a white wine made from black grapes)? Nonetheless, this tastes like a wine twice the price: lemony, yeasty, with a vibrant bubble. We always have six of these in reserve for that mid-week bubble fix. I think I am going to need to up that to a dozen. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2004 Domaine Bernard Morey et Fils Beaune 1er Cru Grèves: Retail $50. I bought six of these a decade ago and this is the first I have opened. Why was I waiting? Good question. Normally, I find red Burgundy to be a bit too aggressive upon release: either too acidity or too tannic, and it just needs a bit of time. Admittedly, this was a bit stewed on the nose (and I feared I had waited too long), but it is gangbusters on the palate: great cherry with plenty of earth—pretty much what you would expect from a 1er Cru from the Côte de Beaune. I am heading there this week and this serves as a mere primer. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2007 Ernest Preiss Riesling Schoenenbourg: Retail $35. While the kind community here on Cellar Tracker suggests that this wine should have been consumed two years ago, I am glad I waited. Sure, it has put on a little color—a deep yellow on the verge of gold—but I could just sniff this for hours: white peach, acacia flower, and a touch of petrol. While smelling it is wonderful, tasting is close to euphoric: brilliant acidity, still luscious fruit, and a minerality on the finish that lingers. Whoa. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2003 Domaine Weinbach Pinot Gris Cuvée Ste. Catherine: Retail $45. Brilliant golden yellow in the glass with peach, lemon, and even a touch of petrol. A slightly off-dry style from a very hot year, this still has some nice acidity while maintaining a lush mouthfeel. Every time I pop an Alsatian Pinot Gris, I am amazed at how well the region treats this fantastic variety. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: As I have stated more times than I can count, there are times when choosing the wine of the week is exceedingly easy and others when it takes more than a bit of retrospection and reflection. This week it was the latter. By just about every measure, I should have opted for one of the two Alsatian wines as both wines were excellent, I studied in the region, and I consider it my second birthplace. But no. Then there was the ever-solid Gruet Blanc de Blancs which just might be the best value in sparkling wines available in the U.S. However, as many wise people have stated: context is everything. I am writing this article away from home, seated at a dinning room table, in a rented apartment, in Dijon, France. These past few days I have been driving up and down the Côte d’Or, admiring the beauty of the vineyards, eating the wonderful Burgundian cuisine, and tasting many of the incredible wines. Just two days ago I visited the Grèves vineyard in Aloxe-Corton, how could the 2004 Domaine Bernard Morey et Fils Beaune 1er Cru Grèves not be the wine of the week? If I had been writing this on a terrace in Riquewihr, Alsace, that’s how.
What was your Wine of the Week?