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).
1991 Firestone Vineyard Johannisberg Riesling, Central Coast, CA: Retail: ? We had people over and I wanted to pull something that would make the collective think. I figured this would fit the bill. I had been holding this for a friend for over a decade and frankly, I was worried that it was past. So I popped it. Does that make me an unworthy steward? Perhaps? Dark. Really dark. Exceedingly dark. Dark like port kinda dark. So no one guessed it was a Riesling. A port-like nose of stewed raisins, but still incredible acidity and discernable fruit. Did we wait too long? Perhaps. But you always win when you bring out a nearly 30-year-old wine. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
2014 B Kosuge Chardonnay Sonoma Coast, CA: Retail $45. It was my birthday, but my wife was all stuffed up and could not smell a thing. Thus, I was not going to open up anything ridiculously serious since I knew she was going to suck down at least half of the bottle (that is just how she rolls) and not appreciate a drop. I also knew that I could not open up just any bottle of wine since said wife would think that I was taking a pass on my birthday and she would feel horrible for “ruining” my birthday with her illness. So opted for one of her (and my) favorites. Good fruit, a bit lacking in acidity, subtle oak, and a bit of vanilla. Nice. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
2007 Domaines Schlumberger Riesling Kessler, Alsace Grand Cru, France: Retail $35. Bottle #1: I am hoping this was just a bad bottle. The last bottle we tried was only seven months ago and it was stellar. This one? Not so much. Dark, oxidized, minimal fruit. Oh well, the chance you take. Bottle #2: Based on the last bottle, which I cracked just a couple of weeks prior, I decided to go back to the well and try to determine whether all of the remaining four bottles were on the outs as well. Upon pouring, I was concerned as this was even darker than the previous bottle. In fact, based solely on the color, this could be easily confused with rosé, or even orange wine, heck, it’s fairly close to coca-cola. the nose, though, is classic older Riesling, dominated by petrol and citrus. The palate is practically devoid of fruit at this point, save the faint peach behind all that petrol. The acidity is front and center, and this, while perhaps an acquired taste, is “banging” as my 16-year-old might say. Excellent. 90-92 Points. Bottle #3: It was late, I was trying to get some writing done, and that seems to go better with some wine in my glass. Based on my general unease surrounding the remaining bottles of this wine, I grabbed another. I poured a glass and it was golden, perhaps not quite as dark as the last, but decidedly in the “might have waited too long” camp. I tasted. It was fine, but I decided to go to bed before I had even finished that first glass I poured. I corked the bottle, put it in the fridge and pretty much forgot about it. The following day, my son had an all-day AAU basketball tournament. All-day as in ALL. DAY. I got home and was exhausted–apparently, nothing makes you as tired as sitting around for countless hours watching ten-year-olds butcher a game that you spent your life playing. Excruciating. Halfway home, stuck in the inane traffic jam that was created by a near-total closure on the highway for no apparent reason, I remembered that this was in the fridge. A cold bottle of wine, regardless of quality, was an ideal remedy to a blazing hot August night in Houston. Well, as I have said countless times, context is everything. This wine was fabulous when I finally got some in a glass. Golden, sure, but petrol, citrus, mango, and swagger. What was I complaining about again? Excellent. 91-93 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Clearly, this was a bit of an odd week. I was out of town for a few days, which always throws off “regular” wine consumption. I also drank a bottle of wine that I had been holding for a friend. Usually, when someone brings a bottle of wine over for dinner, we pop it that night. On the rare occasion that we don’t, I invariably hold that bottle until the next time that the gifter comes back to our humble abode (I still have a few bottles that have already spent the better part of a decade in my cellar based on this “rule”). This bottle, though, I had received from a friend who was moving out of the country and he wanted me to safeguard until his return. Well, that was a dozen (?) years ago and he has yet to return to visit (our move to Houston did not help the situation, but I am counting that as irrelevant). But this week, I pulled it, I popped it, and I drank it. I hope he doesn’t sue me. The Wine of the Week, the 2007 Domaines Schlumberger Riesling Kessler, Alsace Grand Cru, France, though, was a wine about which I was particularly paranoid; I was not sure if the remaining handful of bottles were anywhere close to quaffable, so I decided to pop not one, not two, but three bottles to see what was going on. While the first of said three was less than I had hoped, the latter two were pretty darned stellar. Hence the Wine of the Week honor and also underscoring the adage: there are no good wines, only good bottles.
What was your Wine of the Week?