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).
2007 Cargasacchi Pinot Noir Cargasacchi-Jalama Vineyard: Retail $45. I have never met Peter Cargassachi, but I have met many people who do know him and it sounds like he is a pretty solid dude. I have not had a ton of his wines, either, but those that I have tried have been stellar. I am not sure if his Cargassachi Vineyard is considered an American Grand Cru Vineyard like Clos Pepe or Bien Nacido, but it should be–the wines produced from the site are truly stellar, and this is no exception: dark for a Pinot with dark cherry, clove, eucalyptus, and earth on the nose. On the palate, still plenty of fruit, but also great depth and balance–the tannins are still present, but nearly integrated, on the finish. Wow, this is good. Purchased from Last Bottle. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2013 La Follette Chardonnay Sangiacomo Vineyard: Retail $40. I picked this up off of Last Bottle for probably half of what it is worth. Deep yellow with citrus, vanilla, and oak. On the palate this is yet another solid offering from the Sonoma legend Greg La Folette, the winemaker behind many a cult winery, most notably, perhaps, the first winemaker at Flowers Vineyard. Rich, and tasty with balanced fruit and tartness with noticeable oak, but it works. And it works well. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2014 B Kosuge Chardonnay Sonoma Coast: Retail $55. Every time I taste Byron Kosuge’s Chardonnay, I wonder why he only makes one a year: pale straw with a slightly golden tinge, plenty of lemon curd, melon, and vanilla on the nose. Luscious fruit on the palate as well with near perfect acidity that delivers an extra tang on the finish. Byron, please, make more Chardonnay! Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
1996 Pol Roger Champagne Brut Rosé: Retail $100. 50% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Noir Rouge. I bought 6 bottles of this for practically nothing a decade ago, but my wife “suggested” that I sell four of them to cover the cost of the half case. Ugh. After the sale, we popped one and it was phenomenal. Ugh. I hated myself and cursed my wife (but in a good way). I had one bottle left, but refused to drink it, partially to see where the wine would go, but more to suppress the pain of the sale of its brethren. In fact, part of me secretly hoped this wine would be terrible so that the pain of the sell-off would be easier to bear and, hopefully, fade from my memory entirely. No such luck. Whoa, this is incredible. No mistake, though, this is an aged champagne, it has an oxidized aspect and even a bit of mustiness, but holy goodness. The age of the wine adds to the color of the rosé, the fruit on the palate is both luscious and elegant. The depth through the mid-palate and on to the finish approaches legendary, and the richness is unbelievable. Whoa. Some might think, like my nine-year old champagne tyro, that this is well on to the down-slope, but they, like he, are completely wrong and need more experience. A lot more. While this stops short of being a once in a lifetime wine, it just might be a once in a decade. The person that bought the other four some ten years ago–are you still out there? Are there any left? Can we talk? Outstanding +. 94-96 Points.
2016 Petite Moulin Bandol Les Galets Rosés: Retail $25. 60% Mourvèdre, 30% Cinsault, 10% Grenache. Perhaps a “typical” Bandol—a bit darker than a Côtes de Provence with a bit more body and slightly less acid. Great strawberry fruit with a smattering of rhubarb, I just got this the other day and could not wait to give it a try (the 90+ degree temps in Houston certainly aided in the desire). A fine drinker and the $16 I paid from Last Bottle seems just about right. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: This is usually the week that it is fairly difficult to choose a Wine of the Week—the week around Christmas and New Year’s Day is usually packed with a few special dinners and several memorable bottles. This year, for the first time since my wife and I got married nearly 20 years ago, we hosted my wife’s entire family. This was of course due to the fact that her parents moved to our neighborhood this past fall, thus instantly making Southeast Texas the destination for all familial events. The wine was also flowing all week, and I struggled to take notes—most of our friends know that I squirrel away the last few ounces of a bottle to write a tasting note, but it can be tough to enforce that concept with the dog barking, the football blaring, and the kids screaming. The last of the guests left early on December 31st (really early, as in a 4 a.m. drive to the airport early), so I decided to pop open one of my more special bottles to celebrate the New Year (we opened it on New Year’s Day—we were both too tired to celebrate the Eve). The 1996 Pol Roger Champagne Brut Rosé was ethereal; from the color, to the sparkle, to the richness of flavors, this is going to be a tough wine to beat the rest of the year
What was your Wine of the Week?