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 Amelle Pinot Noir La Cruz Vineyard Sonoma Coast: Retail: $45. The story of Amelle is a bit sad: two high school friends, one a talented winemaker, the other, well, I am not sure what he does, ventured into the small production wine business with some great wines, but somewhat poor marketing skills, eventually resulting in the demise of the brand. The name is an amalgam of their wives’ names (Amanda and Michelle), and the wines were sourced from some of the more interesting vineyards in the Sonoma Coast appellation. This one comes from the 20 acre La Cruz Vineyard, a prominent parcel of the Keller Estate Vineyard. Incredible red berry fruit, a bit of anise, and black pepper on the nose. The palate is still light and lively with great fruit and depth. Although doing well, you should probably get to this in the next handful of years. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
2005 Château de Beaumont, Blaye Côte de Bordeaux: Retail $18. (Not to be confused with the Château de Beaumont, Haut Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, this wine comes from one of the Bordeaux satellite appellations, Blaye.) I feel horrible. Or maybe guilty? Or is it something else entirely? Almost a decade ago, a friend of mine moved to France and he had a few bottles of wine that he could not take with him (or at least it did not make sense to pack or ship them). This was one of those bottles. From a great vintage, but an otherwise unremarkable bottle of wine, from an otherwise unremarkable producer, this is, however, perfectly enjoyable. Normally, such a wine should be consumed within a half-dozen years, at most, but this has endured, no doubt, due to the relative strength of the vintage. Fruity and earthy, quaffable and pleasant. I like to think that I was doing this bottle a favor. Is that a rationalization or a statement of fact? Good to Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2004 Cosentino Winery The Poet, Meritage, Napa Valley: Retail $65. 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Merlot. I have been resisting opening my decades-old bottles of Cosentino. Why hold on to them? Well, the winery is a shell of what it used to be when founder Mitch Cosentino was at the helm. This was the first wine club I ever joined and was my gateway drug to Napa Valley wines. Mitch sold the rights to the winery in 2011 in after a series of rather unfortunate events. The winery is now run by Then? Whoa. Great fruit, rich body and depth, a really fantastic wine and one of the original “Meritage” wines. Only a few left. Sob. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
2013 B Kosuge Pinot Noir The Shop, Carneros, CA: Retail $40. (Reviewed by my lovely wife.) The Drunkencyclist is away which gives me all the votes in what to drink from the cellar! I am a creature of habit and went for one of my go to favorites – The Shop by Byron Kosuge. It’s been a few months since I’ve had one and it continues to be well balanced with not overpowering flavors of blackberries and cherries with a bit of spice, and is terrific with or without food. More importantly, I still love it!! (So much so, that I might even pull another bottle from the cellar before TDC gets home.) Excellent. 91-93 Points.
2015 Château du Rouët Côtes de Provence 1840: Retail $10 (375ml). 60% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, 10% Tibourenc. I had forgotten about this half bottle that I received on a press trip to the south of France a couple of years ago and “found” it as I was searching for a wine to watch the end of the game. Despite being an “old” rosé this is still delightful: soft red fruit, with a jolt of acidity, and very good balance. See? Well-made rosé can age (even in a half-bottle)! Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: This week, while the final choice was not particularly easy to select, it was fairly easy to eliminate several contenders for the Wine of the Week. The Château de Beaumont was perfectly fine and fun to drink, a wine that is older than one of my kids, but that was pretty much the end of the intrigue. My wife drank the Kosuge Shop, not saving me even a sip, so…. The Château du Rouët Rosé was quite tasty and a surprise to find in the cellar, but I forgot to take a photo and it was my only bottle, so…. That left two. The Cosentino Poet is always one of my favorite wines, but new vintages are not even close to the quality of these older bottles. In a similar vein, there will be no more Amelle wines produced at least for a while (I am holding out hope that Eric, the winemaker, will get back in the game at some point). In the end, I opted for the 2010 Amelle Pinot Noir La Cruz Vineyard Sonoma Coast as this week’s Wine of the Week. There is no doubt that it is a stellar wine, drinking beautifully, and I have another bottle (so I could take a photo).
What was your Wine of the Week?