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).
2008 Argyle Pinot Noir Nuthouse Eola – Amity Hills, OR: Retail $55. I bought a case of this wine way back in February of 2011, before the birth of my blog and in honor of the birth of my second son (August, 2008). This is only the second bottle of this wine that I have cracked (the first over two and a half years ago). This bottle seems to be better: while certainly subdued, there is dark fruit, a touch stewed, earth, and a hint of heat on the nose. The palate is surprisingly fruity and tart, particularly for a decade-old (plus) wine. More Old World than New World-fruity, I guess, as it is restrained but oh, so, so, tasty. Wonderful. Excellent to Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2013 Kirkland Signature Chianti Classico Riserva, Italy: Retail $9. 100% Sangiovese. Once again, Costco shows through its Kirkland brand that fantastic wine does not have to be expensive. I picked this up a solid three years ago and completely forgot about it. Perhaps that was a good thing? Quite a range of scores on Cellar Tracker, from 75-90 points. I am not sure that the Kirkland label and it’s low retail are doing it many favors as wine snobs are going to think it is terrible even before opening (since it is “made” by a retail behemoth) and “regular” folk are going to assume it is just an average wine (at best) since they can actually afford it. Well, it is pretty darned good, in my opinion. That classic Classico nose of dark cherry (just ever so slightly stewed), with a bit of black pepper, and even a touch of mint. The palate is still quite fruity with that cherry, a bit of cola, and heaping spoonfuls of tartness. There is also a bit of tannic grip on the finish, too, so this is still doing quite fine, grazie. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
NV Champagne Pierre Legras Champagne Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut, France: Retail $50. 100% Chardonnay. As I mentioned in previous notes, I picked up a case of this wine from the PLCB shortly before we moved for under 25 bucks. Huh? Yeah, I shoulda bought more. But I am not a huge fan of Blanc de Blancs unless it has some age on it. Well, this has at least 8-10 years on it now and it is incredible: yeasty, tart, citrus fruit, tree fruit, a whole bunch going on but it all melds together rather seamlessly. Really a fabulous bottle of bubbles. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
2009 Clos Pepe Estate Pinot Noir, Sta Rita Hills, CA: Retail $50. Well, it has been a while. Like more than half of a decade-while since I last tried this wine. Wow. And Whoa. Black cherry and red berry fruit on the nose with hints of spice. The palate? Pretty close to other-worldly: fruit (a tad restrained), earth, depth, tartness, balance. Holy crapola. I have had a ton of Clos Pepe, and this finds a seat pretty close to the top. Outstanding. 93-95 Points.
NV Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Brut Rosé Sauvage, France: Retail $65. 55%-60% Pinot Noir, 20%-25% Pinot Meunier, 10%-15% Chardonnay. I can not say this for certain, but I believe this might be the darkest rosé champagne on the market (that might need some more research), in fact, it might be closer to a light red than a rosé. Wonderful sparkle and aromas of pomegranate, rhubarb, and a certain meatiness that is oh so scrumptious. I have had a few bottles of this joyful wine now, and with each sip, I grow more enamored: rich red fruit–maybe the fruitiest champagne I have tried, with the pomegranate really coming through in spades. Incredibly rich, but racy, this wine makes other rosé champagnes appear wimpy by comparison. Bravo Monsieur Camus, bravo! Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2008 Cave de Vouvray Vouvray Les Fosses d’Hareng, Loire Valley, France: Retail $18. 100% Chenin Blanc. This was the last bottle of three that I bought from the PLCB in 2011 for 13 bucks. Slightly more golden than the previous, but I liked this bottle just as much (and it showed that the first bottle I opened might have been a bit of an aberration). Golden in the glass, with rich peach and other tree fruit. The palate is nothing short of lovely: rich, sweet (but just enough to balance the tartness), and wonderful flavors. Delightful. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Another week of raiding the cellar of a few gems, all of which were pretty stellar. While certainly not the “best” wine I opened this week, the 2013 Kirkland (i.e., Costco) Chianti Classico was definitely the biggest surprise–nine bucks? The older Vouvray was also well up there in the surprise category, a wine that I picked up way back when from the PLCB. The Wine of the Week, however, was not a surprise. Every time I grab a Wes Hagen wine from the cellar, I know I am in for a treat, which was certainly the case with the 2009 Clos Pepe Pinot Noir, this week’s Wine of the Week.
What was your Wine of the Week?