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).
2008 Argyle Pinot Noir Nuthouse Eola – Amity Hills, OR: Retail $55. I bought a case of this wine way back in February of 2011, before the birth of my blog and in honor of the birth of my second son (August 2008). This is only the second bottle of this wine that I have cracked (the first over two and a half years ago). This bottle seems to be better: while certainly subdued, there is dark fruit, a touch stewed, earth, and a hint of heat on the nose. The palate is surprisingly fruity and tart, particularly for a decade-old (plus) wine. More Old World than New World-fruity, I guess, as it is restrained but oh, so, so, tasty. Wonderful. Excellent. 92-94 Points.
2011 Clos Pepe Estate Chardonnay Barrel Fermented, Sta. Rita Hills: Retail $30. I can’t believe it has been over two years since I have tried this wine. I guess I am reluctant to twist off the stopper since I know the wine will never be produced again. This time around, a bit darker in color, more of a golden hue on the otherwise straw-yellow wine. A bit funky, with lemon rind and tropical notes, the wine is certainly “older” with muted fruit but still vibrant acidity. I am an unabashed fan of Clos Pepe, and this is why. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
NV Gardet Champagne Premier Cru Brut, France: Retail $45. 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier. Over the past two years, I have purchased a couple of cases of this wine from LastBottle.com and for the most part, it has been notably consistent. Good sparkle, yeasty aromas and flavors, and just the right amount of fruit. Excellent. In fact, it is so consistently tasty, I just bought another case. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
NV Ruinart Champagne Brut Rosé, France: Retail: $80. 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay. Perhaps one of (if not THE) standard in rosé champagne, this is certainly one of our favorites. Medium to dark color for a rosé with red berry fruit (strawberry and cherry) on the nose with a visible, brilliant sparkle. The palate is nothing short of fantastic: rich but also tart, this is a contrast in flavors and style. And that is what makes champagne, particularly rosé champagne, the most versatile of all wines. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
NV J.P. Secondé Champagne Blanc de Blancs, France: Retail $45. 100% Chardonnay. Hmmmm. The last bottle I had of this wine was quite different (at least according to my notes), while there is much the same with the lemony and baked bread notes, the tart acidity, and the vibrant sparkle, this wine does not come off nearly as sweet as the last bottle did. Why is that? Was it due to the difference in food pairing? Bottle differentiation? My gradual slide into dementia? I have no idea, but I do know that the wine in my glass right now is delicious. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2003 Domaine Weinbach Gewurztraminer Cuvée Théo, Alsace: Retail $45. This wine comes from perhaps the first “really difficult” vintage in France, 2003, when the temperatures across the country set records and the country, which is largely without air conditioning, suffered. I bought two bottles of this wine in 2008 off an online site and did not know what to expect. Normally, this wine retails for around $60, but I bought them for around $15. A steal. A bit golden, with aromas of lychee, petrol, and a smidge of citrus. The palate is sweet, but not cloying, slightly fruity, and surprisingly mineral. This might be a bit past its apex, but it still quite lovely. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Another solid week in the Drunken Cyclist household with all the wines that we pulled from the cellar solidly in the “Excellent” category. In addition, each of the wines was from one of my favorite regions: Champagne, Alsace, Sta. Rita Hills, and the Willamette Valley. As I mentioned, all of the wines were Excellent, but it was the 2008 Argyle Pinot Noir Nuthouse that took the Wine of the Week honors this time. As I believe I have mentioned before, I used to have “a guy” on the inside at Argyle who would get me wines at really ridiculous prices. I am not sure if the wines happened to “fall off of a truck” or if they were legitimately acquired and each time I wonder about how my guy was able to sell the wines to me so cheaply, I feel a little guilty. But then I pop the cork, taste the wine, and all those pangs of guilt seem to drift away. Funny how that works.
What was your Wine of the Week?