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 Argyle Brut, Willamette Valley, Oregon: Retail $30. 63% Pinot Noir, 37% Chardonnay. This was my last bottle of 2008 that I bought from a former employee at the winery. Once he left, my supply of inexpensive Argyle was severed. Sad, as this is delicious: citrus and baked apple bask in an effervescent golden-yellow playground. On the palate this dances on the tongue with wonderful brioche and a tartness that endures through the finish and beyond. Yum. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2003 Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada: Retail $50. 75% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec, 5% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc. Yes. I have had this for a while. And yes. I may have held onto it for a bit too long. But there is still fruit, albeit a bit faded. Plenty of acidity and oodles of secondary flavors (tobacco, leather). A solid wine now, likely better a few years ago. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
NV Krug Champagne Brut Grande Cuvée: From 375ml. Retail $75 (for 375ml). 44% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay, 21% Pinot Meunier. I received several of these from a very good friend (if you want to gift me some Krug, you will be immediately elevated to “very good friend” status) and I was worried that given the 375 size, they might not age as well. While that certainly might be true, these last couple of bottles were stunning. Nutty and tart with that legendary depth and multitude of flavors (marzipan, citrus, hazelnut). Ah Krug. Whoa. Outstanding. 94-96 Points.
2002 Montaudon Champagne Brut Millésimé: Retail $55. 55% Pinot Noir, 45% Chardonnay. Reading through some of the tasting notes on Cellar Tracker (an online wine inventory system that I use), I realize a rather poignant fact: some people should not be allowed to drink vintage champagne. If that sounds elitist, I apologize, but many clearly don’t get it. Older vintage champagne often loses some of its sparkle, it usually tastes a bit oxidized, and yes, the fruit is faded, but those are precisely the elements that make older vintage champagnes so fantastic. This was a touch golden but nothing severe but the nose is serious: cooking brioche just before you take it out of the oven. Whoa. On the palate toasted croissant and lemon curd. Holy cow. I seem to say it all the time but THIS is why I hold on to vintage champagne. Whoa. Outstanding. 93-95 Points.
NV Ruinart Champagne Brut Rosé: Retail $80. 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc. I bought a couple of steaks and grabbed this from my cellar. I was not sure what to expect since the community at Cellar Tracker says that I should have consumed this bottle a full three years ago, by the end of 2014. Well, a funny thing happened on the way to this wine’s demise: it is fantastic, still. Raspberry pie on the nose with a bit of tar, and wonderfully balanced on the palate. The tannins are fully integrated and this wine is simply lovely. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: As is clear, we went through a bunch of bubbles this week as there were three rather significant events that occurred in the span of two days. I do not typically need a “significant event” to be encouraged to open a bottle of sparkling wine—an “event” such as “Tuesday” or even “Thursday” will usually suffice. This week was special, however, for three reasons. First, Friday October 20th was International Champagne Day, which is as good a time as any to pop open some boules. Second, that same day just so happened to be my wedding anniversary, and opening champagne on that day always serves to cloudy my wife’s recollection on her extremely unwise decision to marry me. Third, my father-in-law, who recently relocated from Northern California to our very neighborhood in Houston, celebrated his birthday over the weekend. Thus, the bubbles were flowing this weekend. All of the bottles were stellar: our last bottle of ’08 Argyle was sublime, the Ruinart Rosé was lovely, and the ’02 Montaudon was a revelation. When you open a bottle of NV Krug Champagne Brut Grande Cuvée, even if only a half bottle, it is going to be really difficult to beat it out for Wine of the Week honors.
What was your Wine of the Week?