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).
2006 Argyle Pinot Noir Spirithouse, Dundee Hills, OR: Retail $55. A tad tired on the nose but certainly not off-putting with some red berry fruit and earth. The palate is surprisingly vibrant with lovely roasted fruit, a healthy shot of tartness, and even some tannins on the back-end. This still has a few years of heavenly goodness ahead of it. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
NV Charles de Cazanove Champagne Vieille France: Retail: $40. 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay. Purchased at Costco, this has a funky shaped bottle that is impossible to find a place for in the cellar. Solid citrus aromas with the characteristic yeastiness on the nose. Nice acidity and decent fruit on the palate. This is not a paradigm shifter. It’s not even a significant attitude adjuster. But it is a Taco Tuesday perfect pairing kinda wine. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
NV Bernard Ledru Champagne Premier Cru Tradition Brut: Retail $45. 50% Pinot Noir, 50% Chardonnay. It was not until I opened this bottle that I realized that I have had these bottles for a bit of time. Sure, the color is a bit golden, and the nose is slightly oxidized, but the biggest clue was the cork: it never really expanded after extraction, which indicates that it has been in there for a while. Still, it says Bouzy on the label which means it was made with some of the best Pinot Noir in Champagne. A bit of citrus and plenty of yeastiness on the palate, with a small and rather faint sparkle, but boy, it’s pretty tasty. A Pinot dominated wine, with plenty of back bone and more than a touch of verve. Yum. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2012 Melville Pinot Noir Estate Verna’s, Santa Barbara County, CA: Retail $35. I have been a fan of Melville since my first visit to Sta Rita Hills however many years ago. On that “maiden voyage” I received a hot tip to visit the winery where I was immediately impressed by both the quality and value. This is the last bottle of Melville I have in the cellar, so I might need to go and find more post-haste. This wine was clearly as good as I remember with good fruit, a bit of earth, and plenty of memories. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
NV Bernard Remy Champagne Grand Cru: Retail $50. 100% Chardonnay. When I try to decide what bottle of bubbles I want to drink on any given night, I usually start with the tasting window provided by the thousands of users on Cellar Tracker. Quickly, though, I realize that providing a drinking window for a Non-Vintage wine is pretty asinine since, well, one has no idea when the bottle was purchased (and thus gives some indication of age). Which leads into my second determinant: when I bought the wine. Since I bought this back in 2015 from Last Bottle, and given that it is 100% Chardonnay (I guess I like a little more age on my Blanc de Blancs than perhaps the average bubble imbiber), I figured it was time to pop another bottle of a wine that had made the 1,500 mile trek from my Philadelphia basement to my Houston cellar (which is a glorified closet). Still bright and “brioche-y” in the glass (albeit with a decided golden tinge), this is simply fantastic, particularly with the added age. Tart, but rich, delicate yet bold, delicious and deep, this is gangbusters. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: This week was a tough one to choose a Wine of the Week (WotW) since I tasted many “Excellent” wines, but none reached the level of “Outstanding.” As per our normal, we had a few bottles of bubbles this week, all potentially WotW worthy. There were also two bottles of Pinot, from two of my favorite producers and regions, both evoking memories. In the end, though I opted for the 2006 Argyle Pinot Noir Spirithouse, Dundee Hills, OR for two reasons. First, it was the last bottle of a case of the wine that I had purchased nearly a decade ago, and second, it was the only bottle of which I had a halfway decent photo (albeit from the wrong vintage). Proving once again that some of decisions come down to convenience.
What was your Wine of the Week?