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 Pinot Noir Pratt Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, CA: Retail $40. I have had this wine a few times and this iteration is particularly joyous: Fruit, depth, intrigue. This certainly has it all. Fruity (dark cherry) and joyous with anise, eucalyptus, and verve on the nose. A bit brooding on the palate with exceedingly dark cherry and tartness. Very Nice. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
NV Paul Berthelot Champagne Premier Cru Eminence, France: Retail $50. 70% Pinot, 30% Chardonnay. In all, I have now purchased 18 bottles of this wine from Last Bottle, my favorite online flash site (they sell one bottle at a time, usually at a significant discount–e.g., I paid $30 for this). Since the first bottle of tried of this champagne, each subsequent bottle seemed to be better than the prior. That was the case again here with deeper, richer flavors and more notes of brioche. Excellent to Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2009 Couly-Dutheil Chinon La Baronnie Madeleine, Loire Valley, France: Retail $30. 100% Cabernet Franc. It has been a while since I have tried this wine, but there seems to be no reason for worry. Dark berries and plenty of earth and a surprising lack of green pepper, which is often typical in Chinon. The palate is fruity but in a decidedly reserved kind of way. Good acid, plenty of grit, and the added benefit that these vineyards were once owned by Rabelais. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2010 Failla Chardonnay Sonoma Coast, CA: Retail $40. This is the last of three bottles we bought at the winery way back in 2012. All three bottles have been stellar, with the last popped just over three years ago. Whoa. A bit golden in the glass with lemon curd and buttered popcorn on the nose. The palate is simply scrumptious with tree fruit, lemon, butter, and just a hint of oak. Yowza. Excellent to Outstanding. 93-95 Points.
NV Gardet Champagne Premier Cru Blanc de Noirs, France: Retail $45. 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Meunier. Another fantastic find by Last Bottle, which is loaded with citrus and a bit of wet rock on the nose. The palate is tart and juicy with good fruit, plenty of baked bread goodness, an ample sparkle, and a lasting finish. This is the second wine I have purchased (through Last Bottle) from the house in Epernay and both have been stellar. I might just have to pop in and say hello the next time I am in town. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2013 La Follette Chardonnay Sangiacomo Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, CA: Retail $45. Yet another Last Bottle purchase, this one back in May of 2017. I bought six bottles of this wine made by Greg La Follette, an icon in Sonoma County (he was the founding winemaker at Flowers, among others). He left La Follette wines in 2016, so he certainly had a hand in crafting this gem: Deep yellow with citrus, vanilla, and oak. On the palate, this is rich and tasty with balanced fruit and tartness with noticeable oak, but it works. And it works well. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: This week, the last of the year, I decided to go in a bit of a different direction. For years now, I have been extolling the virtues of Last Bottle Wines, an online retail operation that sells one wine at a time until the last bottle is gone. This week, we tried three wines that we acquired through Last Bottle, and all were stellar. How can that be? Well, the fine folks at Last Bottle taste through scores of wines (maybe more?) a week before deciding which wines they will purchase to sell on their site. If you have never tried them out, you should–they stand behind all the wines that they sell. If this sounds like I am being a shill for the company, I guess I am (like everyone on the site, I get a $30 credit for all those who make a purchase using one of the embedded links on this page), but I really do love the company regardless.
What was your Wine of the Week?