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).
2007 De Ponte Cellars Pinot Noir Baldwin Family Reserve, Dundee Hills, OR: Retail: $80. Whoa. I purchased this almost a decade ago, way back in 2010 when I attended the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC). Back then, I was but a civilian attending the event. Then, my “host” winery was De Ponte and I was enthralled: a family winery with a female French winemaker–what’s not to love? What a beautiful wine: dark. Maybe medium-dark with dark cherry. But great fruit, black pepper, savory notes. Whoa. Based on my discussions, the press loved the 2008 vintage, but the winemakers loved 2008: more reserved yet expressive–more Oregon. So true. This is amazing, and I am so glad I have two more bottles. Outstanding. 93-95 Points.
2008 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Chardonnay Arthur, Dundee Hills, OR: Retail $30. Wow. The range on this wine on Cellar Tracker is from 96 points way down to 61 (Sixty-flipping-one? Are you kidding me?), which is a bit mind-boggling. I bought this nearly a decade ago when I was out in the Willamette Valley for the International Pinot Noir Celebration. The winery is owned and operated by the Drouhin family of Burgundy fame, and this Chardonnay certainly does that heritage proud. A decided golden color with more tropical than citrus notes, hints of oak, and a touch of vanilla. While this wine almost assuredly saw some wood, it is delightfully balanced with the fruit. Coupled with a zingy (yet balanced) acidity, this is simply marvelous. Well Done. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
NV Alfred Gratien Champagne Brut Rosé, France: Retail $50. 46% Chardonnay, 29% Pinot Noir, 25% Pinot Meunier. I have been lucky enough to visit many of the big houses in Champagne. While I would not necessarily call Alfred Gratien a “big house” it is now firmly near the top of the list of those I need to visit. And soon. Fairly dark for rosé champagne and more orange than pink, with strawberry, cherry, yeast, loveliness. Close to a Whoa. The palate is tart and lively, with red berry fruit, luscious, close to a whoa. While this might not be the most introspective champagne, it certainly is tasty. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
NV Salmon Champagne Montgolfiere, France: Retail $45. 50% Meunier, 25% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay. We are coming to the end of these with a scant two bottles remaining. Overall, it has been a solid, not magnificent purchase, with all of the wines showing good fruit, some complex flavors, but nothing that might shatter even the most fragile of minds. Golden in the glass with tree fruit, marzipan, and just the slightest funk (I love the funk). The palate is also delightful (despite the large large nose part) with baked apple, pear, and a velvety yeastiness. Very Good, Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
2008 Cave de Vouvray Vouvray Les Fosses d’Hareng, Vouvray, France: Retail $25. 100% Chenin Blanc. Looking over my previous note from five years ago, I was a bit shocked about how I liked the wine, but I was less than enthralled. In fact, I might have been underwhelmed. And while time has certainly passed, this wine is much more (at least now) than it was then. Golden in the glass, with rich peach and other tree fruit. The palate is nothing short of lovely: rich, sweet (but just enough to balance the tartness), and wonderful flavors. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: I don’t know if this was a “typical” week, but it sure is plenty familiar. A couple of champagnes, a Chardonnay, a Pinot Noir, and an older Vouvray. OK, we do not drink a ton of Vouvray, but I always say I want to change that. We have a few older Chenin Blancs in the cellar, but certainly not what I would call “many.” The Les Fosses d’Hareng from the Cave de Vouvray was lovely and underscored my resolve. The champagnes were both lovely and the Alfred Gratien Rosé was particularly notable. There were also two wines from Oregon, a Chardonnay that was divine and a Pinot Noir that was close to other-worldly. My wife always laments my decision to hold onto wines, particularly Pinot, but when she tasted the 2007 De Ponte Cellars Pinot Noir Baldwin Family Reserve, this week’s Wine of the Week, she agreed, if only until the bottom of the bottle, that I might have just been right. At least this time.
What was your Wine of the Week?