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 Herbert Beaufort Champagne Grand Cru Carte d’Or Tradition Brut: Retail $58. 90% Pinor Noir, 10% Chardonnay. It was my dog’s birthday. Yes, my dog’s birthday. And my wife said we needed to celebrate. Yes, she is a great dog. But. Really? Really? This is but a snapshot of my life. Remember this when you think you are having a bad day. Amazingly consistent, this is a fabulous champagne. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
2018 Château d’Esclans Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence, France: Retail $25. Grenache, Cinsault, Rolle, Syrah, Tibouren. We have been fans of Whispering Angel basically since it was first released when Sacha Lachine set out to make the best rosé in the world. It has since become the top rosé in the U.S. (and maybe the world?) for good reason–it’s delicious. Now I know it is hip to bash this wine for no other reason than its success. For many in the wine world, if a wine is popular then it must be a mass-produced behemoth that should be scorned until the end of time. While the production of this wine is huge (and keeps increasing), it does not seem that the quality has dipped: bodacious, juicy fruit (strawberry, peach), aromatic floral notes (rose, acacia), and a minerality that is often missing in rosé. Do yourself a favor and buy a bottle–I have little doubt you will be able to find it. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2008 Siduri Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills, CA: Retail: $60. It was a bit shocking to realize that I only had six bottles of Siduri left in the cellar. For years, this was my go-to CA Pinot as both the wines and the story were compelling (Adam and Diane met in a while working at the mall, made a wine, submitted it to Robert Parker and scored a mid-90), but so is the vineyard and wine: dark berry fruit (that is ever-so-slightly stewed), black pepper, and a bit of Christmas spice, this is an incredible Clos Pepe, even close to a dozen years out from vintage. Rich, unctuous, but also tart and playful, This is amazing. Excellent. 92-94 Points.
2016 Montes Sauvignon Blanc Outer Limits Zapallar Vineyard, Aconcagua Valley, Chile: Retail $22. I fell in love with this wine when I first tasted it in the Zapallar vineyard in Chile with the Andes mountains serving as a backdrop to the wine and the vines. I then tasted it again just a few hours later at a restaurant on the ocean, with the sun setting over the water. Then, the wine was rich and racy, smooth, silky, and sexy. Today, in my Houston home, with the late summer heat outside and college football on the TV, this was still stellar, but not quite what I remembered. I am not the first to be seduced by context (nor will I be the last), and this is still an excellent wine, but not one that I would mortgage my house to buy futures. Still racy, but a tad green, with a touch of funk (and I love the funk). Tart and luscious, but maybe not sexy, at least initially, I steadily came around to this wine once again. Had I had a sunset over the ocean and a platter of fresh oysters? I’m sure I would have been instantly enthralled once again. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: I am sitting in a hotel room in Mendocino, California, delaying packing for my trip back home tomorrow. I need to get up and on the road fairly early tomorrow as I need to drive two hours to Healdsburg to drop off my bike (I am coming back to the region next week) and then head down to the Santa Rosa Airport. Why am I telling you all of this? I am simply delaying for time, trying to determine which of these four wines were the Wine of the Week. It was not an obvious choice since they all have their merits. In the end, I opted for the 2008 Siduri Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard, which makes sense based on how I rated it (although not the only factor). I also need to pack, get to sleep, and hopefully wake up on time. So I am making the call.
What was your Wine of the Week?