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).
2014 Acquiesce Grenache Blanc, Lodi, CA: Retail $28. What a difference six months make. I was pretty close to over-the-moon with this wine and challenged the notes that said that this wine was perhaps past its prime. Well, with this bottle I see what they were saying. Sure, there are good fruit flavors and nice acidity, but the fruit has faded and rendered the wine a bit disjointed. Still, a nice wine, but drink up. Very Good. 89 Points.
2008 Argyle Pinot Noir Nuthouse Eola – Amity Hills, OR: Retail $65. Under screwcap. I bought a case of this wine nearly a decade ago (February, 2011) and with this bottle, I have now gone through half of it. Yowza. Still youthful in the glass with little signs of age–no visible bricking, fantastic fruit aromas (dark cherry, earth, blackberry)–there is a ton going on here on the nose. The palate is even better: fruit, tartness, balance, this is pretty close to amazing. I am often accused (by my wife–but she shall go unnamed) of holding on to wines too long, but this bottle? I say to the nay-sayers (perhaps, I don’t know, my wife?): “I told you so.” Oustanding. 94 Points.
NV Duval-Leroy Champagne Brut Réserve, France: Retail $50. 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay. I have only had three bottles out of this case thus far, but this is already the most inconsistent champagne I can remember tasting. The first bottle was stellar, the second bottle was metallic and close to undrinkable, and this third bottle, while Very Good, is certainly a level below the first bottle. Good aromas and flavors but lacking the verve and depth of that first bottle. Here’s to hoping that the remaining nine are a return to form. Very Good. 89 Points.
2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard, Sta Rita Hills, CA: Retail $65. Under screwcap. Brian Loring is known for making big, bold Pinots that should be consumed relatively soon. He has expressed on several occasions that he doesn’t think it is of much use to put his wines down for aging. I disagree. While I am no Brian Loring, I do know that he sources fruit from some of the best vineyards on the Central Coast and those last (whether Mr. Loring agrees or not). I am not sure when or where I got this bottle, but it is magnificent, even almost a dozen years out. Rich dark fruit (blackberry, plum) on the nose, which only improves on the palate. Holy cow, this is certainly big, but big also needs loving, too. This is fantastic. Outstanding. 93 Points.
NV J.P. Secondé Champagne Grand Cru JPS, France: Retail $50. 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay. 100% Grand Cru (Mailly). Aged for 36 months in oak. This is more like it. While the first bottle was excellent, this is much more of what I had expected/hoped for when I purchased these wines from Cruzu a couple of years ago. Golden in the glass with plenty of oaky, yeasty yumminess and a hint of lemon curd. On the palate, this does not come off as sweet at all–it is extremely well balanced, has plenty of depth, and has to be among the best champagnes I have had all year. Outstanding. 94 Points.
NV Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut Rosé, France: Retail $60. 44 to 48% Pinot Noir, 25 to 29% Chardonnay, 13 to 18% Meunier. Darker, perhaps, than your “typical” rosé, with bright cherry and strawberry dominate on the nose; delightful. I know the grand old Veuve takes a lot of heat from the various “experts” based, at least in part I imagine, on the fact that Veuve Clicquot is now owned by one of the largest alcohol conglomerates on the planet. The palate exhibits one of the richer rosé champagnes with incredible fruit, great sparkle, and a lasting tartness. It might be a tad sweet, but heck, this is really good. Excellent. 92 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Looking back at this past week, we opened some pretty good bottles, any of which could be the Wine of the Week. I was certainly surprised, to a certain extent, by the JP Secondé Champagne and the 2008 Argyle Nuthouse. There were also two wines that were not as good as previous iterations that were opened just a few months (or weeks) earlier, which serves to underscore the adage that there are no good wines, only good bottles. For the Wine of the Week this go around I selected the 2008 Loring Clos Pepe, a bottle that I have had for some time now and showed (along with the Argyle) that screw top wines can age well (it also helped that I remembered to take a photo).
What was your Wine of the Week?