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).
2003 La Corte Ré, Puglia, Salento IGT: Retail $35. 65% Negroamaro, 35% Primitivo. A delightful wine from Puglia (roughly, the “heel of the boot”), I bought eight bottles of this wine back in 2006. The last cork I popped was three years ago already and while my tasting notes have not changed all that much since then, I have had the opportunity to visit the region for the first time a couple of years ago. While a Francophile at heart, visiting some of the (slightly) lesser-known regions of Italy is altering my entire world view. Consistent notes. Excellent. 91 Points.
2006 Failla Pinot Noir Occidental Ridge Sonoma Coast, CA: Retail $65. B.A.B. While tasting this wine, I read through a few of the tasting notes here on Cellar Tracker. While most are overwhelmingly positive, there is one clown who gave it a 64. Sixty-effing-four (just a few months after giving it a 90, FYI). Well. If it were up to me, that dude would be barred from the forum. Not so much for his widely varying views on this wine but rather a blatant dismissal of a wine that may have been stored improperly or otherwise mistreated. Get a grip, dude. For me? This is one of the better Pinots I have tried all year: fruity, balanced, tart, earthy. Yowza. Outstanding. 94 Points.
NV Nino Franco Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Rustico, Italy: Retail $25. 100% Glera. This bottle seems to have fallen in between the previous two bottles based on my tasting notes: it is not as sweet as the last bottle, but slightly less complex than the first. Lovely citrus aromas and flavors along with a bit of yeastiness and tartness. This is easily my favorite entry-level DOCG Prosecco not only because the wine is fabulous, but the people behind it, Primo and Silvia Franco, are two of the nicest people I have ever met. Excellent. 90 Points.
NV Remy Massin Champagne Brut Rosé, France: Retail $50. 85% Pinot Noir, 15% Chardonnay. A fifth-generation grower-producer in the Aube region, southeast of Troyes, this is the first rosé I have had after trying several different Bruts. A fairly dark pink for a sparkling rosé with a muted nose of strawberry and cherry. The fine sparkle on the palate leads to plenty of tart fruit and a touch of yeastiness. I picked up a few of these from Invino for $35 and while the wine is quite nice, there might be better values out there. Very Good. 88 Points.
2011 Soléna Pinot Noir Domaine Danielle Laurent, Yamhill-Carlton, Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $45. I bought four bottles of this wine more than a handful of years ago from Last Bottle and they arrived at our then home in Philly on a day when the high temperature was a whopping 18° (that would be Fahrenheit). I examined the bottles and one had a cork that was pushed out a few millimeters which caused me to believe that the wine had been frozen and needed to be popped immediately. So I did. Other than being *really* cold, the wine was fine, stellar even. That was 2015. Tonight, I opened the second of the bottles. Close to a whoa. Dark cherry fruit both on the nose and the palate with hints of earth and plenty of acidity. I did not have high hopes for this wine, but it is absolutely stellar. Excellent. 91 Points.
NV Chateau St. Jean Brut Rosé, Sonoma County, CA: Retail $25. Chardonnay and Barbera (despite my best efforts, that was the most detailed description I found). While this lists at 25 bucks, I got it for half of that from the winery, including shipping (I am a sucker for free shipping). While there are other domestic sparklers that I would opt for, this is a fairly solid effort: Gorgeous pink with a hint of orange. Candied nose almost caramel. Fruity and a bit sweet on the palate. A wine that does not require much contemplation and is a hit with the in-laws. When dining with said in-laws? That is a decided win-win. Very Good. 88 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: The Wine of the Week was fairly straight-forward. We have been fans of Failla Wines and Ehren Jordan for well over a decade now and it is almost always on the “must visit” list whenever I go to Napa Valley (even though most of the fruit comes from Sonoma, the winery is on the Silverado Trail in Napa). It always feels like a special occasion when I open a bottle of Failla since I know that the wine will be great and whoever might be joining me in its consumption will feel the same way. Such was the case this week when I selected the 2006 Failla Pinot Noir Occidental Ridge. It was greeted with an excited “Oooh!” by my wife when I placed it on the table and caused a bit of a ruckus when we were trying to determine who was going to get the last glass. That is usually the sign of a good wine.
What was your Wine of the Week?