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).
2009 Argyle Pinot Noir Cowhouse, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $60. Another year and a half since the last bottle, and this is still incredible, perhaps better. Menthol, darker fruits, and a hint of pipe tobacco on the nose. The palate is rich and lovely with slightly stewed fruit, incredible acidity, and a finish that lasts longer than Auld Lang Syne. Gorgeous. Excellent. 92-94 Points.
2015 Camlow Cellars Pinot Noir Magna Porcum Big Pig, Green Valley of Russian River Valley, CA: Retail $50. Dark, particularly for a Pinot both in the glass and on the palate. Blackberry and raspberry dominate the nose, but the palate also introduces some black cherry. Well-balanced and juicy, this should be consumed in the relatively short-term, but that’s OK, it’s fabulous. Excellent. 91-92 Points.
2009 Clos Pepe Estate Chardonnay Barrel Fermented, Sta Rita Hills, CA: Retail $35. After this bottle, I only have one left from this vintage and another dozen total from other various vintages. And that’s it–the winery no longer exists. And that is tragic. This is yet another stellar bottle with a touch of funk but otherwise bright green apple and pear. The palate is marvelous: the fruit is slightly muted, but great tartness and minerality with oodles of verve, Whoa. Fantastic. Excellent. 92-94 Points.
2010 Clos Pepe Estate Pinot Noir, Sta Rita Hills, CA: Retail $50. It has been a solid 18 months since I popped a bottle of this wine and back then, I opened it for a philistine who claimed she “didn’t like Pinot Noir.” Well, she liked this one. Fast forward to New Year’s Day and yet another Pinot hater is in my house (how do they find me?). So again, Clos Pepe. And another convert. I’m starting to feel like a Pinot Evangelist or maybe a Pinot-Pusher. Eucalyptus, bright cherry, a bit of earth. Yup. Clos Pepe. Whoa. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2004 Twomey Merlot Napa Valley, CA: Retail $65. This is the last bottle of a trio that I bought back in 2008. The first two bottles were stellar and this might be the best of the three. Slightly stewed blackberry and cassis in the glass, with dark fruit, balanced tartness, and nearly integrated tannins (this still has the stuffing for some more cellaring). Sure, I would drink this in the “near” term, but given that this is nearly two decades out, “near” is a relative concept. Yowza. Baller. Close to a whoa. Excellent. 91-92 Points.
2002 Fess Parker The Big Easy, Santa Barbara County, CA: Retail $40. Syrah-based blend. I bought these big boys back in 2010 online based on my affinity for both the winery and Daniel Boone, portrayed by Fess Parker. It is a big boy in both stature and bottle weight–this is a ridiculously weighted bottle (what I call a Big Ass Bottle) and has plenty of heft in the bottle. Rich with dark red fruit, vanilla, and a hint of mocha. Whoa. The palate is perhaps both richer and fuller, with completely integrated tannins. Yowza, this is nowhere near my style of wine, but it is completely off the hook. Excellent to Outstanding. 93-95 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: There was fairly little variation in relative quality this week as we had friends visiting, and I pulled what I thought (hoped) would be good bottles to share. Thankfully, I got lucky and all the wines showed extremely well. All four Pinots were fantastic and in a “normal” week, one of them would have easily been the Wine of the Week. In addition to the Pinots, there was a bit of an oddity: a Merlot. I say it was odd not because of the movie but rather I just don’t have a lot of single variety Merlot. And now I have less (with no plans to buy any). It’s not that I dislike the variety, I just have a hard time finding a place for it. The Wine of the Week, however, was another outlier: the 20002 Fess Parker The Big Easy. It is an outlier since it is both mostly Syrah and a blend, which are perhaps equally rare in my cellar.
What was your Wine of the Week?