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).
2006 32 Winds Cabernet Sauvignon: Retail $55. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. I bought these several years ago based on one simple fact: the wine maker was Ehren Jordan, who is the winemaker for Helen Turley as well as his own Failla wines. I have been a huge fan of Failla for a while now, and I always suggest a stop there when in Napa (call ahead, appointment required). Plenty of fruit and some mocha, but it was nicely balanced with a bit of tannin on the back-end. The finish never seemed to stop. There is one down side (and a pretty big one for me): the bottle weighs about five pounds. That is just ridiculous. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2005 Villa Erbice Amarone della Valpolicella Vigneto TREMENEL: Retail $45. Corvina Grossa, Corvina Gentile, Rondinella. I do not have a ton of experience with Amarone, but I have tasted plenty, and while this is not the best I have ever tried, it is solid. Beyond Solid. A bit stewed and plenty of dark red berry fruit, some mocha, and a hint of anise. On the palate, concentrated and focused with fruit and depth. This falls just short of a Whoa. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
NV Gallimard Père et Fils Champagne Cuvée Réserve Brut: Retail $40. 100% Pinot Noir. My evolution on this wine from the Côte des Bar continues: citrusy and biscuity all over the place with plenty of acidity and a bit of verve. Nice sparkle and overall a bargain ($22 at Last Bottle). Giddy-up. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2014 Kemmeter Wines Riesling Sonero: Retail $25. I bought this a few years ago in conjunction with the Wine Bloggers Conference which was in the Finger Lakes that year. A delightful wine with plenty of acidity, fruit, and mineral notes. Just enough sweetness to balance it out. Lovely. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
2009 St. Innocent Chardonnay Dijon Clone Freedom Hill Vineyard: Retail $35. A bit dark in the glass, with a decided buttery aspect to the nose along with lemon curd and a touch of minerality. On the palate, brilliant acidity shows up first, followed by a bit of fruit and considerable oak. This is clearly more of the traditional style of Chard, but I am a fan–there are plenty of fantastic wines made in this style, and this is one of them. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2001 Trimbach Gewurztraminer Cuvée des Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre: Retail $45. Just about every time I taste an Alsatian Gewurztraminer, I have the same thought: why can’t producers of the variety in other regions follow the model of the northeastern French? Gewurz from regions not named Alsace are too dry which makes the spiciness and florality stand out far too much in my opinion. This wine, though, is close to gangbusters: pineapple and mango on the nose with just a hint of white flower and spice. On the palate, this is certainly sweetish, but far, far, far from unctuous and balanced with a bright acidity and plenty of fruit. A decade and a half out, and this is still crazy good. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Looking over the wines from this past week, I see that I rated them all “Outstanding” (a couple were on the cusp, but that detracts slightly from the point I am trying to make here, so just roll with it), which seems to be happening with a bit more frequency recently. That either means that my assessments are suffering from grade inflation (an affliction that I fervently tried to avoid as a high school then college teacher) or I have some decent wines in my cellar that benefitted from some extended cellar time (my wife strenuously protests extend cellar time until she tastes the older wines). I am choosing to believe the latter, naturally. Both of the reds were magnificent—I had a feeling the 32 Winds would be such, given its pedigree, and the Erbice Amarone was a welcome surprise. That Gallimard Champagne is an incredible deal at $22 and proof that there are some solid choices from the Côte des Bar despite what most “traditional” Champenois would have one believe. This week, however, I returned to my roots, so to speak, and opened one of my older wines from Alsace, a region that I like to call my second home. I studied and played basketball there many years ago and became enamored with the region and its wines. I have been back several times since and it is difficult for me to name a region in France that delivers on more levels: wine, cuisine, culture, history, natural beauty, and of course, great cycling. Thus, this week the 2001 Trimbach Gewurztraminer Cuvée des Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre is my Wine of the Week. Not only does it provide some lovely memories from my “home” it also exhibits what Gewurztraminer is supposed to be.
What was your Wine of the Week?