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).
NV Paul Berthelot Champagne Eminence, Premier Cru, France: Retail $49. 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay. I can’t be 100% certain, of course, but this seems to be the best of the lot (I bought 10 bottles from Last Bottle–why the heck did I not buy 12 or for that matter 24?) of this wine last year. Yeasty, citrusy, and a whole lot of yumminess (technical term). The palate is equally impressive with a fervent sparkle, lovely fruit, and a tartness that begs for food… Whoa. Excellent to Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2005 Littorai Chardonnay Charles Heintz Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, CA: Retail $85. Well. According to my wife, I waited too long, and she might be right. Golden, even approaching orange in color with a slight oxidative note on the nose. Initially, the palate only revealed a touch of that oxidative nuttiness, along with mature apple and pear, a bit of oak, brilliant acidity, and a nutty finish. OK, this is passed, there is no doubt about it, and it degraded with every moment open. But there was a flash of brilliance at the outset that made it all worth it. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2014 Uli Metzger Riesling Halbtrocken, Pfaltz, Germany: Retail 10€. My in-laws were over for dinner again (they only live 100 meters away) and since my mother-in-law prefers sweet wine, I thought this would be a good choice. I received it almost three years ago as part of a mystery case from Last Bottle and pretty much forgot about it until now. I have to say I like both the full-liter bottle and the screw-top closure. The contents are not that shabby either. Still fairly light in the glass with a light straw hue with the slightest hints of yellow. Flinty with pear fruit on the nose and a nice tartness on the palate. This is not going to set the bar for German Riesling, but it just might make your mother-in-law happy. Good to Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2013 Murrieta’s Well The Whip, Livermore Valley, CA: Retail: $22. 28% Semillion, 24% Chardonnay, 14% Sauvignon Blanc, 11% Orange Muscat, 11% Viognier, 11% Gewurztraminer, 1% White Riesling. Back in 2015, I was sent two bottles of this wine to sample. The first was Very Good to Excellent, so I filed this bottle away for another day. Well, that day was today. And wow. Who knew a white wine could improve so much (OK, well, there are plenty of wines in Burgundy that can improve over time, but that is another post). Great tropical fruit, impeccable acid, plenty of finish. This is heads and tails above the wine I had upon release. Whoa… Excellent to Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2005 Bodegas Victoria Cariñena Longus, Aragon, Spain: Retail $25. 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 20% Tempranillo, 20% Syrah. Wow. Has it been nearly four years since I have popped a bottle of this wine that I purchased from Last Bottle way back in 2012? Clearly, I need to do a better job at cellar management. A surprisingly fruity elixir pours from this WAY to heavy bottle, with notes of anise, blackberry, and some red flower. I wrote seven years ago that this was a blend of Cabernet, Merlot, and Syrah, but I can not confirm that today. Some sites say it is Carignan, others claim Garnacha. What is it? I really have no idea, but given the flavor profile, I am leaning toward Grenache. Why? Simply put, “Garnacha” is a helluva a lot more fun to say than “Merlot.” Excellent. 90-92 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: This week was a bit of a surprise. On paper (or I should say “on my computer screen” does anyone still use paper?), I would have thought the Wine of the Week would have been the Littorai Charles Heintz Chard. While a nice wine, for sure, it was not quite up to what I hoped it would be. Oh well, it happens. Another surprise was the Berthelot Champagne, which we have had before and really enjoyed, but this bottle was just a notch above those others. The biggest surprise though was easily the 2013 Murrieta’s Well The Whip. As I mentioned in the note above, it was Very Good when I first tasted this wine nearly four years ago, but this week it had transformed into near other-worldly. Wow.
What was your Wine of the Week?