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 Failla Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch: Retail $45. 100% Pinot Noir. Well. Sadly, this is the last bottle of this wine in my cellar, and it just might be the best of the three (but we might be splitting hairs here). Really light in the glass, really light, like almost rosé light (and a bit cloudy), but an abundance of luscious aromas: Bing cherry, raspberry, rhubarb, and a smattering of earth tones. On the palate, the fruit is deep and profound, but not overbearing, incredible acidity, and a finish that lasts minutes. Several minutes. Oh my goodness, this might be the best Failla I have had. Whoa. Outstanding. 93-95 Points.
2001 Patrick Lesec Châteauneuf-du-Pape Marquis: Retail $40. 70% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre. This is my note from the last bottle: “Well. I bought this several years ago from a guy online that I trusted. Well. That changed dramatically. To say that there is a little Brettanomyces on this wine is akin to saying, the traces of Catholic on the pope are negligible. I had hoped that it would blow off in the 5+ years since my last bottle, but no. Undrinkable.” If anything, this has gotten worse. Once again this bottle went down the drain. Undrinkable.
NV G. H. Mumm & Cie Champagne Cordon Rouge Brut: Retail $45. 45% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Meunier. I am a bit of a champagne slut, but interestingly I have much more familiarity with Mumm Napa than I do with the mother ship, G.H. Mumm. While the Napa version was born of the French original, it has long since been sold (several times). As for the “original” this is a solid champers: bright fruit and acidity, fervent sparkle, and lingering finish. Sure, there are more complex champagnes and sparkling wines, but this is solid to the core, and worthy of its heritage. Bravo! Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
2004 Paul Pillot Saint-Aubin 1er Cru Le Charmois: Retail $55. 100% Chardonnay. Well, it seems as though the verdict on this wine will have to remain split. I bought four bottles several years ago in Burgundy and I was waiting patiently for the wine to mature and develop that magical goodness that often results with an aged White Bourgogne. Unfortunately, there is another option: pre-mature oxidation. Dark in the glass with decided caramel notes, this is not completely oxidized, but it was certainly on its way. The fruit is gone, but there is still plenty of acidity and some buttered croissant aspects. When you roll the dice with white burgs, this is certainly a likely outcome. Still, those two incredible bottles might have made it worth it. Key word: might. Very Good to Outstanding. 87-89 Points.
2003 Domaine Weinbach Riesling Réserve Personnelle: Retail $30. Wow. What a difference. Tasting the last bottle, I thought: “Well, I waited too long. Perhaps a decade too long.” This bottle, though? Oh my goodness. Golden in color, citrus aroma, petrol verve. Viscous, but not overbearing, fruity, but reserved, and full-on diesel. The palate is certainly reserved and dry compared to more recent versions of Riesling, but holy cow, this is good. I cracked this with an open canister of peanuts that was slightly larger than my head. Just short of a whoa–this has character, body, verve, and intrigue–what else does one need? Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: This week, it was exceedingly easy to choose the Wine of the Week—I knew it as soon as the first sip. Nonetheless, like most of the information that is passed off as “news” these days, I tried to keep an open mind. I honestly considered opting for the Lesec Châteauneuf as the WotW since it is probably the single worst wine I have tasted all year. There was the Pillot St. Aubin, which while not the best individual bottle of this wine that I have tried, certainly evoked the two previous bottles that were phenomenal. Staying in France, the Mumm Cordon Rouge was as close to what I expected as possible, and the Weinbach Riesling was a very welcome surprise. No, the Wine of the Week this go around is the only non-French wine on the list. When I write the words: “might be the best Failla I have had” how could I not choose the 2007 Failla Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch to receive this week’s top honor?
What was your Wine of the Week?