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 Adler Fels Pinot Noir The Eagle Rock, Santa Barbara County, CA Retail $28. 76% Santa Barbara County, 24% Sonoma County. B.A.B. Under a composite cork. I received two bottles of this wine at some point in 2016 (my record-keeping is much better, strike that, “better” these days). Based on my tasting note, the first bottle was solid, even if it fell just short of “Excellent.” This second bottle? I am willing to re-assess that evaluation. I was tasked by my wife to find another bottle of either “Champagne or Pinot or Something” as we started a movie rather late in the evening. I complied. I brought her three choices and she opted for this bottle for no apparent reason (other than, perhaps, expediency). Fine choice. Still remarkably fruity (black cherry and blackberry) with aromas of vanilla, clove, and perhaps sage. The palate is also fruitier than I would have imagined form a nearly seven year old wine, but also quite tart and refreshing. I had completely forgotten about this wine, but I am oh-so-glad that I opened it tonight. Lovely. Excellent. 91 Points.
2009 Argyle Pinot Noir Cowhouse, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $65. Under screw cap. Another year and (almost) a half since I have last tried this wine, and it is doing magnificently, thank you very much. Light crimson in the glass with some orangish bricking at the rim, this wine is still singing nearly a dozen year past its vintage. An alluring nose of vanilla cola, sarsaparilla, and even ginger. Whoa. The palate is loaded with dark cherry even though the nose was utterly lacking in fruit, but there is also an intense tartness, some leathery characteristics, and a finish that lasts for several minutes. Either my earlier notes missed the boat, the previous wines had not had this magic, or I am going (at least slightly) insane. I guess I will opt for door #2? Whoa. And whoa again. Outstanding. 95 Points.
NV Bernard Remy Champagne Grand Cru, France: Retail $60. 100% Chardonnay from Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. Le Mesnil-sur-Friggin-Oger. I do not pretend to be a student of the Côte des Blancs–any expertise I claim to have in Champagne lies firmly on the Montagne de Reims. But anyone with even a passing knowledge of Grand Cru wines from the region knows that Le Mesnil is at the top of the heap when it comes to Chardonnay. I bought six bottles of this wine from Last Bottle back in 2015, which means they made the trek from Philly down here to the Bible Belt. While the first five bottles were all fantastic, this last bottle might have been a step above. Was it due to the fact that it was the proverbial last bottle (no pun intended)? Or was it the stone fruit (peach and pear), creamy marzipan, and yeasty notes on the nose? Or better yet, what about the vibrant sparkle, the intense acidity, and the freshly baked brioche on the palate? Yeah. Gangbusters plus. Outstanding. 94 Points.
2019 Sauvion Rosé d’Anjou, Loire Valley, France: Retail $15. Under screw cap. 70% Groslot, 30% Gamay. I have to admit that I have not had much Groslot. In fact, I am fairly certain that I have not had any (but given the amount of cycling and touring I have done in the Loire, it has no doubt previously passed these lips). Lovely rich pink with a decided orange tint. Nice red fruit, a bit of citrus, and some red flower. The palate is tart, but also sweet–not cloying, but certainly sweet. Not White Zin sweet, but more of a off-dry kinda vibe. Let’s just say that my mother-in-law loved it. A lot. And that’s OK. Honest. Very Good. 87 Points.
NV Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut Rosé, Columbia Valley, WA: Retail $13. 93% Pinot Noir, 7% Pinot Meunier. As I imagine is the case in most parts of the country, this wine is available in most grocery stores that sell wine. As such, it is often below its suggested retail. For example, I get this wine at my local H-E-B store often for right around ten bucks. Faint pink with an orange tint, fruity aromas of strawberry, a touch of rhubarb, and a hint of sweetness. Tart, fresh, fruity, noticeable sweetness, but good depth, flavors, and length. Nice. Very Good. 89 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: This week was rather straightforward when it came down to choosing the Wine of the Week as there were two solid contenders for the “crown.” In one corner stands the Bernard Remy Champagne Grand Cru, an incredible champagne and a sentimental favorite since it was a last bottle. In the other corner was the 2009 Argyle Pinot Noir Cowhouse, a wine that I bought nearly a decade ago and I have been steadily going through the case ever since. It was a tough choice, a little like choosing a favorite child, I guess, but in the end I opted for the Pinot for this week’s Wine of the Week. Why? Well, many a champagne (including the same Bernard Remy) has been featured here already but more importantly, the Argyle is under a screw cap, dispelling the notion (at least for me) that wines under screw cap should be consumed in the short-term
What was your Wine of the Week?