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).
2004 Davis Bynum Pinot Noir Bynum & Rochioli Vineyards: Sadly, this is the last bottle of the case of this that I bought for under $12/bottle. Yeah. I know. Well, while this bottle was fantastic, it is probably best that I had it tonight. There is still plenty of fruit, depth, and clearly balanced, but the tannins are completely integrated and there are some slight stewed notes on the palate. Nothing at all serious, mind you, but it does make me think that there is more of that aged stewed fruit on the near horizon. So if you have any, drink up, it’s fabulous! Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
NV Paul Clouet Champagne Grand Cru Brut: Retail $60. 80% Pinot Noir (Bouzy Grand Cru), 20% Chardonnay (Chouilly Grand Cru). We bought this at the winery over the summer and we had not had any until a visit to the local restaurant here in Houston, Brasserie 19, where they had another Clouet on the list for $34. Upon returning home, wanting a little more sparkle in our lives, I pulled this from the cellar. Whoa. Dark in the glass with baked bread a go-go. Wowza. Rich, succulent, and decadent this is not for the dainty champagne drinker, this is full throttle and gangbusters. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2007 Dolce Winery Late Harvest: Retail $125 (375 ml). 82% Sémillon and 18% Sauvignon Blanc. There seems to be a wide range of opinions on this wine and reading through the notes it is clear why: those who don’t like dessert wines don’t like it, those who appreciate the genre love it. Consider me in the latter camp. Nutty with orange peel, white peach, and oodles of verve. On the palate? Whoa. And then whoa plus. And whoa plus plus. Is that a thing? Rich, unctuous, ridiculous. Tart, deep, and loaded with body. Whoa. Outstanding. 95-97 Points.
2004 Château de Monbazillac Monbazillac Château Monbazillac: Retail $45. Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc. We have fallen out of the habit of drinking dessert wine mostly because we have fallen out of the habit of having dessert. The other day, though, some friends were over who have a proclivity for sweet wines so I thought I would throw this at them. Glad I did. Whoa. We picked this up a couple of years ago when we spent a week in Sarlat-la-Caneda in the Dordogne, which is a short drive from Monbazillac and this famed Château. The winery is actually a cooperative which while quite common in France, is virtually unheard of in the U.S. Citrus and nutty with orange peel. On the palate? Holy cow. This is off the charts good, with weight, tartness, depth. It is all there. Hard to imagine why the “Drink By” date on Cellar Tracker is 2104. This could go for another decade easy. Outstanding. 93-95 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Another rather odd week when it came to wine consumption from our own cellar. As I mentioned above, even though we have more than a few bottles, we rarely drink dessert wine any more. This week, though, we drank two. I also pulled out two wines that I knew would be good. I had little doubt that the ’04 Davis Bynum Pinot would be good as it comes from a top producer in Sonoma and I bought a case of this wine several years ago, drinking one or two bottles a year since. And every one of them has been exceptional. I also knew that the NV Paul Clouet Grand Cru would be stellar as it comes from perhaps my favorite producer in Bouzy and we had just had a bottle of the Paul Clouet Sélection (one step down on their echelon) at a local restaurant and it had been fabulous. This Grand Cru was truly exceptional. The ’04 Monbazillac was a mild, but pleasant surprise given the assessment on CellarTracker. Speaking of CellarTracker, an open source wine inventory tool that I use literally every day, this week’s Wine of the Week, the 2007 Dolce Winery Late Harvest, received wide-ranging scores on the site. Users of CellarTracker, as with other similar platforms, can opt to leave a tasting note and/or score for the wine–some tout these Community-based scores as more “accurate” than those found in Wine Mags because they are given by “real” people (why the writers of wine magazines are not considered “real people” is an interesting topic by itself). While some extolled the many virtues of this wine, some gave it exceedingly low scores because “sweet wines are not by bag.” I feel a potential article in the making…. As for the wine? Truly remarkable in my opinion. I will leave it up to you to decide if that opinion comes from a “real person” or not.
What was your Wine of the Week?