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).
2011 Amelle Zinfandel Mori Vineyard Russian River Valley, CA: Retail: $25. OK. I am a fan of this producer, which I have stated countless times. I have also lamented the fact that the winemaker, Eric Buffington, is no longer producing wines. At all. I bought these at an extreme discount (but I feel extremely guilty about it), and I have loved everyone that I have opened thus far. It’s big (relatively), and fruity (relatively), but also deep, introspective, and, frankly, lovely. Outstanding. 93-95 Points.
2013 Ancien Chardonnay, Carneros, CA: Retail $38. Before I pulled this wine, I read my wife’s note (above). I figured she liked it so it was a safe bet. Popped, poured, and sniffed. While my wife is wonderful in many ways, apparently she can’t detect oak. While this is short of an “oak bomb” it certainly is loaded with wood. Me? I think oaky “traditional” California Chards need love too, and this is a particularly nice one. Good fruit, good acidity, well balanced. But definitely oaky. And creamy. And buttery. Now I’m faced with a quandary: do I tell my wife she was wrong?!? I don’t think so. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
NV Paul Berthelot Champagne Premier Cru Eminence, France: Retail $50. Retail $50. 70% Pinot, 30% Chardonnay. This is quickly becoming the house wine as it comes up fairly frequently on Last Bottle. I love the fact that it is predominantly Pinot Noir as the variety adds more backbone and “oomph” to the wine. That is certainly the case here with toasted notes, faint citrus, and vivacity. This is a lovely wine and one that I am glad to know is almost always in my cellar these days. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
2010 Patricia Green Cellars Pinot Noir Balcombe Vineyard Dundee Hills, OR: Retail $45. It’s been two years now since Patty Green passed away and each bottle I’ve opened since causes me to pause. She was such a force and such a bright light. But her wines, crafted by my college classmate Jim Anderson, live on. This Balcombe is simply amazing. Fairly light in the glass with lovely dark cherry, cedar, and eucalyptus. Close to a whoa. The palate is balanced and precise, even close to a decade out. With a finish that lasts a couple of minutes, this gets a Whoa. Excellent. 92-94 Points.
2008 Ojai Viognier Ice Wine Roll Ranch Vineyard, CA: Retail $30. A bit of amber in the glass with noticeable viscosity and pear and peach on the nose. Sweet, but far from unctuous, and nutty on the palate. At 9%, it is certainly not heavy with great acidity and a lengthy finish. Close to a whoa. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Most of the time that I write this portion of the post, I start with a rather clear understanding of which wine is the Wine of the Week (WotW). That is certainly the case this week, but I decided to pause and re-evaluate as the wine at the top (or, more precisely, the producer) has already “won” WotW honors several times. So I pondered. The Patricia Green Balcombe was magnificent and evoked a fond memory or two. The Ojai Ice Wine was delightful and the Berthelot Champagne continues to reinforce my allegiance. Last, the Ancien Chardonnay was close to a lost treasure: I had forgotten that I owned it, but I was glad that I had found it. In the end, though, I came back to the 2011 Amelle Zinfandel Mori Vineyard as this week’s Wine of the Week. I only wish there were more Zinfandels like this: fruity yet subtle, introspective, and complex. Kind of a mirror image of yours truly. Did I just say that?
What was your Wine of the Week?