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).
2005 La Bastide Dauzac, Margaux, Bordeaux, France: Retail $35. 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc. As one might expect, this is rather austere on the nose, particularly when compared to more recent New World wines: dark color, almost inky, with tar and dried black raspberries and plums (I guess that would be prune?). The palate, although far from austere, is certainly reserved, with subtle dark fruit, black pepper, anise, and that tar (which, although it seems rather off-putting, certainly fits). Look, most people used to Napa or Sonoma Bordeaux blends might find this a bit lacking, but this is a legit Bordeaux, folks. From a killer appellation, and a mind-blowing vintage. Yeah, it’s a classic Bordeaux, but this was a bit surprisingly better on the second day, thus bumping it up a bit from the last bottle. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
NV Herbert Beaufort Champagne Grand Cru Carte d’Or Tradition Brut: Retail $50. 90% Pinor Noir, 10% Chardonnay. We had friends over. They were from Philly (actually NJ, but that is not the point here). Thus, I decided to pull a champagne that was my last purchase from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) before I moved south—I actually bought a case of this wine as the boys and I were literally driving out of town on our way to Texas. Golden in the glass with rich notes of melon and marzipan, and a decided oxidative note (which I’ve in champagnes). The palate is luxurious: great acidity, tart, but oxidized (slightly) fruit, ridiculous finish (over a minute). This. Is. Why. I. Love. Older (even Non-Vintage). Champers. Excellent to Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2003 Marcel Deiss Rotenberg, Alsace, France: Retail $45. A blend of Pinot Gris and Riesling. The last time I tried this wine was back in 2016, and my opinion has not varied (actually, it has–it is tasting even better): this is a delightful wine from my adopted home of Alsace, dark in the glass, but pleasant aromas of lemon curd, petrol, and a touch of funk (and I love the funk). The palate has a decided sweetness which nicely balances out the acidity. I would resist saying this is a desert wine, but the tree fruit flavors, dash of petrol, and slight oxidative nature would work well at the end of a meal. I would prefer, though, a nice tarte flambé or a heaping helping of choucroute, of course. Excellent to Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2005 Dutch Henry Winery Argos Hillside, Napa Valley, CA: Retail $55. 40% Cabernet Franc, 33% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon. This is now the third bottle of this wine that we have tried and it fell somewhere between the first two. The first was solid, but slightly lacking in fruit. The second was stellar, full of verve, with wonderful fruit. This bottle was dark and brooding in the glass with good fruit, structure, and finish. Not quite as glowing as the last bottle, but certainly heads and tails above the first. Excellent. 89-91 Points.
2011 Nicolas Potel Pouilly-Fuissé, France: Retail $30. 100% Chardonnay. This was my note from a few months ago which is eerily precise for this bottle:
It was late, my wife was on her Peloton, but I needed more wine. So I scanned my cellar for bottles that were “past prime” and this popped up. I looked at my notes from the past three bottles that we had opened. I shuddered. Or maybe I cringed. None had been great, but my wife was not partaking so I would not hear the all-too-familiar: “See? I TOLD you so! We hold on to wines far too long.” I am not saying that was my wife saying that, it could very well be my conscious self chastising me in a voice that sounds an awful lot like my wife. But I digress. The über-golden color in the glass caused alarm as well as the desire to hide this from my wife if she were ever to emerge from her Peloton Bat Cave (I am pretty sure that image is a fat FAIL, but…). The nose follows the color: oxidative, but with some lemon curd. The palate? OK, Not a mind-blower by any stretch of my already elastic imagination, but this is pretty good: citrus, oak (in a good way), oxidized slightly (again, in a does-not-suck way). And a tart, vibrant finish. I really like it. But I did not save any for my wife. I am not an idiot (I think. Or at least I am fairly certain. OK. Maybe.) Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: I am writing this summary up from my hotel room just outside of Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. We arrived late last night and will be staying a total of five nights here in the belly of the beast. I quickly realized, though, that the seven bottles of wine might not be enough. I also realized that the wine available for purchase here is both overpriced and, well, crappy. I also realized that I left my camera at home–and with it many of my recent photographs. A couple of those images are of potential Wines of the Week, including the 2003 Marcel Deiss Rotenberg, which is a truly lovely wine from a very difficult vintage. But I do not have a photo of that wine here with me, and Harry Potter did not listen to my wish to have it. Thus, a bit by default, the NV Herbert Beaufort Champagne Grand Cru Carte d’Or Tradition Brut is the Wine of the Week. Make no mistake: this is a wonderful bottle of bubbles, and quite worthy of the honor (it has won three times prior).
What was your Wine of the Week?