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 Elyse Syrah Napa Valley: Retail $45. We were at a party in our neighborhood and it ran out of wine (well, at least wine I wanted to drink), so I snuck out, hustled over to my house, and grabbed this from the cellar. I popped it and gave it a quick taste at home, to make sure that all was well. Well, all was well, really well. So well in fact, that, well, I did not want to return to the party (but I did): Cassis, mint, pine, forest floor. Palate? Fruit, depth, verve. This hits on so many levels. Holy cow. And a whoa. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2010 Patricia Green Cellars Pinot Noir Balcombe Vineyard Dundee Hills: Retail $45. I have been sick for a few weeks, so I did not pop a bottle of Patty’s wine when I heard of her premature passing. I am still sick, but I figured enough was enough. This wine opened with an odd odor, but that blew off with a bit of time. When it did, good cherry flavors with touches of earth, but there seems to be a little VA on the backend here—I am hoping it is just bottle variations I have five bottles left. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
NV Champagne Pierre Legras Champagne Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs: Retail $55. 100% Chardonnay. I have stated countless times that I am generally not a fan of Blanc de Blancs. The exception has generally been vintage grand Cru Champers with a bit of age. Well, this is not vintage, but there is a touch of age (it was aged for seven years on the lees before release). Whoa. All kinds of citrus and loads of brioche, there is plenty of depth and considerable verve. One of my last purchases from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) before moving to Texas, this stops just short of a Whoa. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2008 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Cargasacchi Vineyard: Retail $50. Here is my tasting note from my last bottle of this wine: “I have mentioned before that most see Loring wines as those that should be consumed young (including Brian Loring himself). I, on the other hand, have held on to quite a few of the wines, with the expectation that the fruit would eventually die down a bit and reveal the balance that I know must be there. Well, call me a bit of a genius. Nearly a decade out, this still has loads of black cherry fruit, but there is also some depth and intrigue. Still a “big” Pinot lover’s kind of wine, but more mature and restrained. Think mid-twenties instead of high school sophomore.” While this certainly holds true just a few months later, this bottle had a slightly more stewed fruit aspect to it. Sill, Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2003 Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve: Retail $75. This was another bottle for which I snuck out of a party and retreated to my cellar. Dark raspberry and earth dominate the nose with mint and clove playing secondary roles. On the palate the fruit rules but plenty of acidity to balance it out. The tannins are largely integrated but still kicking on the finish. Close to a Whoa. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: This week was far from a “normal” week as I was still suffering from the effects of the monstrous cold that hit me like a ton of bricks in Burgundy three weeks ago. My JV basketball team also did something that was rather unusual: they won for the first time this year. Coincidentally, I hope, it was also the first game that my son had missed, but I would rather not focus on that aspect right now. It was also the first week in a while that my sinuses had cleared sufficiently so that I could delve a little deeper into the cellar and pull out a few bottles that I had been meaning to drink for some time now. Both the Hunter sparkling wine and the Legras champagne were wonderful, certainly worthy of the weekly honor of Wine of the Week. As were the Loring Pinot from one of my favorite vineyards, the Elyse Syrah (I really need to get back there), and the Whitehall Lane Cabernet. All definitely worthy of top honors this week, but I decided that the 2010 Patricia Green Cellars Pinot Noir Balcombe Vineyard Dundee Hills is this week’s Wine of the Week. Patty Green passed away a month ago, but this was the first time that I felt like I could give a bottle of her wine the attention that it deserves. I met Patty on a couple of occasions, but it would be folly to suggest I really knew her at all. Still, her enthusiasm and love of life were palpable. There is no doubt that she will be sorely missed. Cheers Patty.
What was your Wine ofWeek?