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).
2010 Argyle Pinot Noir Willamette Valley: Retail $22. I have been a fan of Argyle for some time now, but most of my experience has been with their sparkling and upper end Pinots. This entry-level wine is far from basic—fairly light color but robust aromas of dark cherry, wet earth, and eucalyptus. Although far from “fruity” there is still plenty of red berry on the palate. But there is also depth, a touch of grip, and plenty of lip-smacking acidity. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2009 Argyle Pinot Noir Spirithouse: Retail $65. Fairly dark right out of the bottle with aromas of dark cherry, anise and cinnamon—certainly not an everyday Pinot bouquet. On the palate, although the fruit is initially a tad stewed, that quickly gives way to rather luscious and quite tart dark cherry, along with some earthy components on the mid-palate. The finish is lengthy, but the tannins are, for the most part, integrated. Drink soon. Fantastic. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2011 Bokisch Vineyards Garnacha Terra Alta Vineyard: Retail $25. I have a serious man-crush on Markus Bokisch but that does not cloud my judgment. Much. Great fruit, depth, and intrigue. I hesitate to mention what I paid for this, but it is easily worth 2-3 times the tariff. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2010 Cornerstone Cellars Pinot Noir: Retail $45. I bought a couple of bottles of this wine on a trip to Napa Valley several years ago. I had just come off the Wine Bloggers Conference, where I met Craig Camp who was the GM at Cornerstone at the time. Impressed by the wines that Craig showed at the conference, I decided to visit the winery in Yountville. I was so impressed by this Willamette Valley Pinot that I bought a couple. Today? Delicious. Black cherry, pepper, and some clove lead to a delightfully tart wine, with good to great fruit, plenty of depth, earth, spice. Yum. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2016 Château d’Esclans Whispering Angel Côtes de Provence: Retail $25. Cinsault, Grenache, Rolle. The angel catches a ton of grief and the only reason, as far as I can tell, is that it is wildly successful. But the odd thing is, it’s good. Very good. Outstanding even. Strawberry and tart cherry, great balance, lengthy finish. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: So this was a tough week for selecting a Wine of the Week. First, I have been trying to catch up on the pile of samples in my house, which meant fewer trips to the cellar, fewer possibilities for a WotW. Nonetheless, we made an effort, pulling a few bottles from our favorite producers and powering through the wines for, well, you the reader. Yes, I believe in sacrifice. That is just how I prefer to roll. Thus, there were a few Pinots, and while all were stellar, both the ’09 Argyle Spirithouse and the ’10 Cornerstone represent both why I love Pinot Noir and a bit of history behind my wine journey (although for very different reasons–I bought a bunch of Argyle early on [long story] and at the time, Cornerstone was led by one of the first believers in what I have been trying to do with this blog). There was also the ’11 Bokisch Terra Alta Garnacha might be my favorite Grenache today (that does not come from the Rhone Valley). Then there was the 2016 Château d’Esclans Whispering Angel. First, the wine is a rosé, which many believe should be consumed within a year (or less) from release. Well, this is what I call a “True Rosé” which are intended to be pink from the jump and therefore have plenty of acidity to protect the wine in the bottle as it ages. Well, it was fabulous, and is a striking example of why Rosé should be treated as a serious wine.
What was your Wine of the Week?