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).
I can’t believe it is already October and it is still pretty hot here in Houston. Just last week we were still in the ‘90s, but it has “cooled” this past week to the mid-to-upper ‘80s. That was enough for me to start breaking out a few reds!
2010 Benovia Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast: Retail $50. It was game night with the family and I was getting crushed: first at Risk and then Uno. Being a competitive type, I was not taking it well. Thus, I delved into the cellar, looking for a salve for my oozing wounds. This worked. And how. Fairly light, but cloudy in the glass with dark cherry, a touch of raspberry, and oodles of eucalyptus. Close to a whoa. Really close. The palate is rich and lush, with surprising fruit (for an eight year old wine), an incredible tartness, and a finish that lasts for at least several minutes. Whoa. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2011 Elyse Zinfandel Morisoli Vineyard: Retail $30. 87% Zinfandel and 13% combination of Alicante Bouschet, Carignane, Durif, Grand Noir, Muscat Hamburg, Négrette, Syrah, and Valdiguié. I bought a half a case of this wine a few years ago and we have been gradually making our way through the wine. Surprisingly, the wine has been extremely consistent, so much so, that my note from over a year ago still applies:
This has always been one of my wife’s favorites, so I am usually lucky to get so much of a glass when there is a bottle open. Really dark and brooding color and fruit, with blackberry and cassis predominate. On the palate, not nearly as brutish as the nose suggests as the fruit is in a happier, more ebullient mood, and while it is certainly big, it is by no means a monster. After the first wave of fruit, there is some depth and a respectable finish. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2010 Gary Farrell Chardonnay Carneros Selection: Retail $38. It has been two and a half years since I have tried one of these and the additional time seems to have helped. Golden color, but a rich nose of lemon, vanilla, and just a hint of oak. On the palate, this is initially shy, but that is more a function of temperature than anything else. Eventually, after a bit of warming, the flavors start to peek out: lemon curd and pear, with brilliant acidity and considerable depth. This is, clearly the best bottle of this wine I have tried thus far. Very close to a Whoa. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2004 Domaine Bernard Morey et Fils Santenay 1er Cru Passetemps: Retail $45. 100% Chardonnay. I had gone to lunch this week and had a wonderful, yet young, white Burgundy. It got me to thinking: I had a ton of older white Burgundies and many of them had been bad–victims of premature oxidation, or pre-mox. For some unknown reason, these wines, which historically have aged for at least a decade or more, turn golden and take on sherried, stale notes. So I popped this. And it was worrisome: dark golden color, with that sherried aspect. Uh oh. On the palate, though, it is (no pun intended), palatable. Maybe more. Good acidity, a bit of fruit, some oak, and a lovely finish. A curious dichotomy, from one of my favorite appellations in Burgundy (since Santenay can be tasty and [relatively] reasonably priced). Very Good. 87-89 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: This week, there were a few solid options from which to chose, and I really wanted to opt for the white Burgundy as just after Champagne, Burgundy is the wine region closest to my heart. The Morey Santenay, though, was another in a disturbing trend—yes, it was drinkable but it was not what it should be (and yes, I realize that it is nearly a decade and a half past vintage, but I have had similar wines that have been life-changing). The Elyse Morisoli Zin was every bit as stellar as I remembered and the Gary Farrell Chard proved once again that the whites from the winery are every bit as good as the reds. That leaves the 2010 Benovia Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, and while it is not the most prestigious Pinot in the Benovia line-up, this particular wine, on that particular night was magnificent. I had discovered that my son was getting an unacceptable grade in math (let’s just say it is well below an “Asian F’ which horrified my Korean-American wife), and being the former statistics major and high school math teacher, the chore fell to me. Once I procured the Benovia, I had the “liquid courage” necessary to attack the exponential functions. I will let you know how the test turned out—if it is anything like the wine, well I might just sprain my wrist patting myself on the back. If the test did not go so well, um, er, the wine was amazing at least?
What was your Wine of the Week?