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).
2003 Weingut Ernst Bretz Riesling Eiswein: Retail $45. I am not exactly sure what caused me to select this wine, but I am glad I did. While it is far from “past” the color is a decided amber and the nose is a bit oxidized. Beneath, lies caramel, orange peel, and a bit of peach. Sweet, but not over the top, this is a wine to be enjoyed at any time—the 5.5% ABV ensures only minimal effects! Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
2002 Domaine Alain Burguet Gevrey-Chambertin Mes Favorites Vieilles Vignes: Retail $65. 100% Pinot Noir. A wine that my wife pulled out of the cellar and served us blind–initially, I thought it might be a Syrah, as this is both quite dark and meaty with a bit of spice. On the palate, though, this is all Pinot, albeit a big, meaty, and spicy Pinot. Rich and opulent, but still with noticeable tannins on the finish, this is not a typical Côte de Nuits Rouge. A decade and a half out, and this is big, bold, and not ready to give in. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
NV Mario Lucchetti Special Spumante Brut: Retail $20. 100% Lacrima. I found these at the H.E.B. on clearance for $4, plus I got another 10% off with a six bottle purchase. No brainer. I figured even if it were horrible, there was very little ventured. But it is far from horrible. In fact, after the first sip I was angry I did not buy all the available bottles: more of a light red than a rosé with aromas of cranberry and cherry. On the palate, bone dry with great fruit, and ample sparkle. For $20 this is a solid wine. For $3.60? Are you kidding me?? Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2010 Simonnet-Febvre Chablis 1er Cru Côte de Léchet: Retail $40. 100% Chardonnay. Here’s to bottle variation! The first bottle was at best drinkable and at worst a stinker. The second was markedly better, into the “Outstanding” range. This one? It just might be the best Chardonnay I have tried this year—great citrus fruit, minerality, body, weight. Whoa. Yes, Whoa. After the first bottle, I was convinced that the other three would find their way down the sink as well, but holy cow, what a difference! Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2003 Domaine Weinbach Riesling Réserve Personnelle: Retail $15. I had not had a bottle of this for several years, so when I was looking for a white to sip while working on an article, I chose this nearly 15 year-old bottle from Alsace. Once again, the cork was moldy and difficult to extract, and while the wine was golden in the glass, it was far from worrisome with aromas of petrol and citrus. Still tart, but also a considerable amount of chalkiness. Completely dry, as are most Alsatian Rieslings, and simultaneously austere and viscously weighty. It is not the best Riesling from the region I have tried, but this, over a decade out, is still a solid effort from a very difficult year. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: I have been writing this blog for over six years now and over that time no wine has been more puzzling than this week’s Wine of the Week. The Lucchetti Spumante was certainly the best deal of the week (anytime you find a bottle of wine that cost under four bucks and it is not only drinkable but also very good–that is a huge win), and the Burget Gevrey-Chambertin was the “best” wine of the week (a 15+ year red Burgundy that delivers as promised is also a win). Both would be strong contenders for WotW in any “normal” week, if there is such a thing. But this week, the top honor goes to the 2010 Simonnet-Febvre Chablis 1er Cru Côte de Léchet. I bought four bottles of this wine a few years ago from Wines ‘Til Sold Out, and I opened the first of the four a few weeks ago. It was mediocre (at best). Worried that the remaining three were in a similar condition, I grabbed the second bottle last week, and it was decidedly better. Not convinced on which of the two bottles was the outlier, I grabbed a third bottle this week, and it was even better than the second–as I mentioned in the note, it is likely the best Chardonnay I have tried thus far this year. So, I now have one bottle left, and I have no idea what to expect–will it continue the upper trend I have experienced thus far? Will it revert all the way back to that first regrettable bottle? Or will it lie somewhere in between? Stay tuned….
What was your Wine of the Week?