What We Have Been Drinking—9/4/17

As Houston continues to recover, I have received many requests over the last few days about information regarding charities that are providing assistance to those affected by Hurricane Harvey. While there are many worthy outlets, I have set up a donation page with Texas Children’s Hospital to help the families with extremely sick children whose homes have been severely damaged by the storm. 100% of the donations go directly to the families (full disclosure: my wife is the Director of the Palliative Care team at the hospital). LINK.

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).

2005 Argyle Pinot Noir Spirithouse: Retail $70. Screw cap. For several years, starting just under a decade ago, I had a guy on the inside at Argyle. He was fairly high up, I think, in the management structure and he sold me a bunch of wine at what had to be below wholesale. I bought 6 of these for far less than half of retail. I should have bought 12. Or 18. Or….

Red cherry, eucalyptus, red earth, and verve on the nose. On the palate? Whoa. Fruit, acidity, and endless élan, this seems far better than the previous four bottles (but hopefully below the remaining one). Yowza. And a Whoa. Maybe two. Outstanding. 93-95 Points.

2003 La Corte Ré Salento, IGT: Retail $55. 65% Negroamaro, 35% Primitivo. Ah, La Corte Ré, how you tempt thee. You are getting on in years, which is evident by your slightly stewed nose, but the palate is all business: round, a bit fruity, a bit stewed, but worthy of contemplation, Heck, it is worthy of deep reflection. There are some tannins on the back end, but most have precipitated out at this point as the wine is throwing some healthy sediment. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.

NV Gallimard Père et Fils Champagne Cuvée Réserve Brut: Retail $45. 100% Pinot Noir. I picked this up from Last Bottle for the more than reasonable price of $25. A solid, but short of spectacular, grower champagne. Good citrus, a bit of brioche, and ample bubbles. I grabbed this as soon as saw the sun after Hurricane Harvey, and it was a perfect choice. We survived the storm, but celebrating too much seemed like a slap in the face to the many less fortunate. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.

2009 Lemelson Vineyards Pinot Noir Thea’s Selection: Retail $40. I took this to a friend’s house after the storm for a bit of Cards Against Humanity, thus my note is rather succinct: Black cherry, a touch of anise, and plenty of earth. On the palate no signs of tannin but plenty of verve. Nice. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.

2008 Ravenswood Zinfandel Big River: Retail $35. 100% Zinfandel. I usually avoid big Zin, particularly from the “Three Rs” (Ravenswood, Rosenblum, and Ridge) since they are usually overblown, fruit bomb, hot messes (well, except Ridge, but I digress). When I saw these Ravenswood Sins, though, I jumped. Quickly. Nice fruit (albeit a touch stewed), anise, chocolate, and oomph were all present on the nose. On the palate, much the same, but added texture and depth. On the big side? Yes. On the “yummy” side? Decidedly. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.

2005 Bodegas y Viñedos Recoletas Ribera del Duero Reserva: Retail $35. 100% Tempranillo. A bit dark but still translucent, with sweet plum, cassis, and chocolate on the nose and quite rich and opulent on the palate with rich fruit. Wow. This is one of the bigger wines I have had from the region (although I have to admit that my experience is limited), and it is lovely. Waves of fruit with flashes of earth and still impressive tannins. This is gangbusters now, but the scary thing is that it could likely last at least another 5-10 years. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.

WINE OF THE WEEK: Trying to return to a sense of normalcy after last week’s harrowing weather, we consumed quite a bit of red wine this week. No, Houston is not suddenly in the snow belt and experiencing winter or even fall like weather—it is still quite hot. But after the storm, we sought out more comforting food, which usually calls for a bit more heft when it comes to wine. There were several contenders this week including La Corte Ré, from Puglia (near Italy’s “heel”), the Recoletas from the increasingly popular Ribera del Duero in Spain, and the Ravenswood Big River Zin from right here in the U.S. Instead, though, I return to my passion: Pinot. While the Lemelson Thea’s Selection was tasty, the 2005 Argyle Pinot Noir Spirithouse was other-worldly and thus garners this week’s Wine of the Week.

What was your Wine of the Week?






About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Champagne, Negroamaro, Pinot Noir, Primitivo, Tempranillo, Wine, Zinfandel. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to What We Have Been Drinking—9/4/17

  1. aFrankAngle says:

    I think back to about late 90s-early 2000s when big zins weren’t fruit bombs. Glad to see that your family is safe and sound. Hang in there!


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