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 $50. Clearly not as good as previous bottles, but still, bright cherry fruit, hints of earth, and tangy tartness. This is clearly a solid Pinot, but this bottle did not contain the “oomph” as previous bottles. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
2012 Harney Lane Zinfandel Old Vine Lizzy James Vineyard, Lodi, CA: Retail $50. I have no idea how I came into possession of this wine, but for the last four and a half years it has been waiting patiently in my wine cellar. The wonderful community here on Cellar Tracker seems to think this beautiful wine from nearly 120-year-old vines should have been consumed back in 2016. Huh? Wonderful dark red fruit exudes from this wine once it has been poured from the ridiculously and unnecessarily extremely heavy bottle, along with black coffee, spice, and just a hint of heat (15.5% ABV). The palate is silky smooth with abundant fruit, considerable depth, and mostly integrated tannins. On that last point, I would argue that this wine could last at least another 3-5 years easy as those tannins continue to work. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
2016 Larsen Projekt Grenache Rosé, North Coast, CA: Retail $18. True Rosé. A nice salmon color in the glass with aromas of strawberry, peach, and wet rock. Quite fruity and tart with strawberry, minerality, and impressive depth. Sure, I consider Robert Larsen a friend, and I have a penchant for True Rosés, but this is an impressive wine, perhaps even extraordinary. Rich fruit, lip-smacking acidity, and a lengthy finish that continues to re-introduce the best elements over the course of several minutes. Close to a Whoa. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
2013 Joseph Mellot Sancerre Domaine des Emois, Loire Valley, France: Retail $20. 100% Sauvignon Blanc. This bottle was not quite in the same place as the first two bottles–it’s decidedly golden, with some muted peach and pear. There is a touch of fruit on the palate as well, with plenty of tartness and some minerality. I doubt this was ever a top-tier wine and it seems to be on a downward slope, but I still dig me some Sancerre. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
NV Champagne Fabiènne Prié Champagne Cuvée Brut Reserve, France: Retail $65. 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay. For the last three years, I have coached my son’s high school J.V. basketball team. If you have ever coached your child, you know how it can be both rewarding and maddening. This year, he was called up to the Varsity, for which I serve as the assistant coach. Up until recently, my son had not been called upon to do much as he was third or fourth off the bench on a team of just nine. The last couple of games, though, he has started and, for the most part, played rather well. Tonight, with his team down one with just ten seconds on the clock, he grabbed the rebound off of the opponent’s missed free throw, threw a perfect outlet pass and sprinted up the court. The ball was quickly moved up the sideline and into the hands of one of the better players on the team. He drove to the basket and hoisted a shot. It missed and careened off the other side of the basket and into the hands of, yes, my son. Without hesitation, he grabbed the ball, jumped, and shot. The last-second peeled off the clock and the horn sounded as the ball was in the air.
He missed. And we lost.
Both he and I were crestfallen (more my son than I–I have been around that block before). When we got home, I pulled some champagne. My son, incredulous, asked why I was celebrating and I offered up the oft-cited quote from Napoléon Bonaparte:
“In victory, you deserve Champagne; in defeat, you need it.”
Dark gold in the glass with notes of oxidated peach and pear, and freshly baked well-done croissant. The palate is equally if not more enticing with all kinds of yeasty, citrusy goodness. The sparkle is faint, but the flavors are not. Whoa.
I tried to get my son to try some, but I was worried his tears would dilute this rather extraordinary wine. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: The weeks seem to tick off rather quickly down here in Houston particularly since we have had a rather mild winter this year, even by Texas standards. So while a good swath of the country is drinking through their hearty reds, we have been reaching for just as many whites and rosés. This week, the Larsen Projekt rosé was particularly delightful as was the Harney Lane Zinfandel. Choosing the Wine of the Week, though, was fairly easy. Sure, we lost a game we should have won. And comforting my son as he licked his wounds was trying at best, but when all that happens with a glass of rather tasty champagne in my hand, well, it all seems a bit less important.
What was your Wine of the Week?