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).
NV Bollinger Champagne Special Cuvée Brut, France: Retail $60. 60% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Meunier. Over 85% Grands and Premiers crus. Holy Bolly, I bought this wine about three years ago and it has been stored in my cellar since. Brioche is the first aroma, followed by citrus, and just a hint of oak. Whoa, Bolly is no joke. The palate, if possible, is even more enticing with richness, tartness, and badassedness. Whoa. Excellent to Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2014 Clos Pepe Estate Pinot Noir, Sta Rita Hills, CA: Retail $ 50. Sigh. I have stated countless times that this is right up there with my all-time favorite wineries. A few years ago, however, the winery closed its doors. Forever. The vineyard is still alive, but the fruit is sold, on a twenty-year lease, and the original winery, Clos Pepe is dead. And this was the last vintage. Sigh. But it is glorious (and I have six more bottles): Bing cherry, black pepper, eucalyptus. Whoa. There is a reason that this is my favorite domestic Pinot, and this is it. Whoa. Excellent to Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2008 Flowers Chardonnay Camp Meeting Ridge, Sonoma Coast, CA: Retail $55. From way back, I have been a fan of Flowers. Out on the extreme Sonoma Coast, the wines have always been stellar and the vibe, well, fantastic. The winery was sold, there was a scandal, yet the wines continue to be “baller” (sorry, I have been hanging out with my teenage son a lot lately). I bought this wine over a decade ago at the winery and my wife, as she usually does, thought that I held on to it for far too long. Once I poured it in the glass, though, we were both pleasantly surprised. Just a touch golden in the glass, with loads of peach and lemon on the nose. The palate is near perfectly balanced between fruit, acidity, and depth. Yowza. And giddy-up. And Whoa. And I pointed out that I was right to hold onto this beauty. Outstanding. 94-96 Points.
2016 Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé, France: Retail $25. 50% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, 10% Syrah, and 10% Rolle. As one would expect, this has evolved a bit. More orange than pink with a sweet strawberry note on the nose. The palate is not exactly “fruity” but there are noticeable red berries and plenty of acidity. While at first, I thought this might be a tad long in the tooth, by the third glass I had done a 180° turn. This is yet more proof that well-made True Rosés can and do age well–no need to drink them so quickly after release. Very Good to Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2005 Domaine de l’Oriel Gérard Weinzorn Riesling Florimont, Alsace Grand Cru, France: Retail $30. I bought six bottles of this wine from the winery over a decade ago, and the last bottle had me convinced I had waited too long. I remember this as a transcendent wine, one of the finer Grand Crus I have had from Alsace. The last bottle, while still tasty, was far from that. This bottle? Dark in the glass, a bit of fruit, plenty of petrol on the nose. Yeah, as with the last one…wait. A funny thing happened on the way to the palate. It’s good. Really good. Outstanding, even, but just short of life-changing. A touch of fruit, plenty of secondary and tertiary flavors with vibrant acidity and a lengthy finish. Yowza. Excellent to Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2000 Château Potensac, Médoc, Bordeaux, France: Retail $25. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc. I bought a slew of these back in 2005 and I have not been disappointed. While not a Cru Bourgeois then, then one of 9 Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnels in 2003, only to be revoked in 2007, then refused to be considered as a Cru Bourgeois in 2010. Yeah, the designation is a mess. But the wine isn’t. A fabulous Bordeaux, regardless of price, this still has fruit, albeit reserved, with just a touch of green pepper (thank you Cabernet Franc). The palate screams for food, to which I obliged with a Texas-sized ribeye. Fantastic. A perfect match. One bottle left. But when? Excellent. 90-92 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Despite spending far too much time in my living room for yet another week, we were able to drink some fabulous wines, all of which had some age on them. In this house, there is almost a daily debate as to how long wine should be aged. One of us (who shall go unnamed) thinks that virtually all wine should be consumed almost immediately upon release. The other sees considerable value in aging wines, even some (e.g., non-vintage champagne and True Rosé) that most do not see the value in cellaring. While all of the wines seemed to prove the latter’s point, he Wine of the Week, the 2008 Flowers Chardonnay Camp Meeting Ridge, was particularly delicious. So much so, my wife finally relented and acknowledged that holding on to some wines occasionally works out (oops, I just accidentally outed her).
What was your Wine of the Week?