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).
2015 Château Bas Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Le Temple: Retail $25. Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. I have long argued that well-made True Rosés are complete ballers (that is a term my teenager says all the time–I think it means “fantastic” and/or “incredible”). This wine that I picked up at the winery a few years ago supports my hypothesis: well-made rosé can age quite well. Luscious red fruit, great acidity, and earth. Ok. Whoa. This is close to transcendent. Excellent. 92-94 Points.
2014 Clos Pepe Estate Pinot Noir Brut Rosé: Retail $60. 100% Pinot Noir. It seems like every winemaker and his/her neighbor is making a sparkling wine these days (actually, the VAST majority farm out at least a part of the process to a producer that specializes in the production of bubbles, but that is the story for another post) and that is a good thing: More bubbles = Good. Clos Pepe, far from being the first to produce bubbles on the side, was no doubt one of the earlier adopters, at least in Sta Rita Hills. The winery is no kaput, and this is my last bottle of Wes Hagen’s bubbles, but I figured it was time to say goodbye. Initially a bit odd, but with a bit of time, this really came around: Pale pinkish orange with muted berry fruit and a touch of yeastiness on the nose. Despite its less than a boisterous opening, there is a fervent sparkle, which carries fruity flavors and a rich mouthfeel along to the palate. Not as creamy and rich as some champagnes, but this is right up there with the best rosé sparklers from the Central Coast. Bravo. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2008 Cobb Pinot Noir Emmaline Ann: Retail: $80. My third (and final) bottle of this wine was certainly the best. I pulled it while watching the game, which was critical for my team. The game was touch-and-go when I delved into the cellar to pull out this decade-old wine. Almost immediately upon opening, the tides began to turn in favor of my team. Coincidence? Wonderful cherry fruit, fantastic acidity in near-perfect balance, and an earthy finish. It is always fabulous when the last wine of a lot is the best. Except when you realize that you have no more bottles before the start of the next game. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2014 B Kosuge Chardonnay Sonoma Coast: Retail $45. The following was written by my lovely wife who insists on raiding the cellar when I am gone. My only request is that she does not drink the last bottle of something and that she write a tasting note on the wine, which she usually honors. The Drunkencyclist is off on another adventure – this time in NYC so I took the opportunity to pull one of my favorite Chardonnays. Oddly, the fill line was 3/4 inch below the foil, but there was no problem with the wine. It had a nice lemon/vanilla flavor with minimal oak (which is my preference). It seemed a bit more acidic than I remember the last one being, but I very much enjoyed it! Excellent. 91-93 Points.
2016 Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé, France: Retail $25. Cinsault, Grenache, Rolle, Syrah. As one would expect, this has evolved a bit. More orange than pink with a sweet strawberry note on the nose. The palate is not exactly “fruity” but there are noticeable red berries and plenty of acidity. While at first, I thought this might be a tad long in the tooth, by the third glass I had done a 180° turn. This is yet more proof that well-made True Rosés can and do age well–no need to drink them so quickly after release. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: There were several pleasant memories evoked this week as we popped open bottles this week. The first was while I was away, and my wife opened one of her favorite wines made by one of our favorite people: the Byron Kosuge Chardonnay. Once I returned, we opened the Cobb Pinot, which caused me to recall my visits to Hirsch Vineyard and my discussions with Ross Cobb and Jasmine Hirsch. We also opened a Clos Pepe this week, which is sadly no longer being made, but each bottle I open reminds me of the time I have been able to spend with the indescribable winemaker Wes Hagen. Last, there was this week’s Wine of the Week, the 2015 Château Bas Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Le Temple, which served not only as proof that rosé can age and age well, but it also evoked pleasant memories of my visit to the winery back in 2016 when I picked up this bottle.
What was your Wine of the Week?