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).
2019 Belle Glos Pinot Noir Clark & Telephone Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley, CA: Retail $60. This is currently available for $42 at what is likely our new favorite restaurant, Porta’Vino, here in Houston. At this price? I would have been stupid not to give this wine, which I have not had for some time, a whirl. So I did (I do not like to see myself as “stupid”). Meh. Sure, it is fine but there is too much fruit, too much sugar, and too much, well, Wagner, in this wine. Very Good. 88 Points.
2011 Failla Chardonnay Estate Vineyard, Fort Ross-Seaview, CA: Retail $50. We bought three bottles of this wine nearly nine years ago at the winery. The first two bottles were stellar and since we popped the last bottle a year and a half ago, I figured it was time to rip off the band-aid and drink the last bottle. After consulting Cellar Tracker, I sauntered to Row 48, Section B in my cellar to collect the bottle. And I began to salivate. Yum. And then there was a problem, it was not in Row 48, nor 46, 47, 49, or 50, for that matter. I looked in several more rows and sections to no avail; it just was not to be found. Rats. I interrogated my wife, my sons, my dog (although she was not very forthcoming with much information), none had any idea what happened. Well, whoever drank it, I hope they enjoyed it as much as I would have. I’m sure they did. Maybe.
2001 Nicolas Joly Clos de la Coulée de Serrant, Savennières, Loire Valley, France: Retail $140. 100% Chenin Blanc. Under cork. It was a day. A pebble hit my windshield on the way to the airport and after a couple of days in long-term parking, it had developed into a major crack. Leaving the parking lot, the automated kiosk claimed I owed $138 for the four days I was there (it should have been $30). I got home and smashed a ramekin of guacamole all over my kitchen. And. I found out that my nemesis was leaving on a trip to France to write about wine (I was returning from parents’ weekend army freshman son’s school in Cleveland, where I was, well, in Cleveland). Then, on the way home, the sound system in my car suddenly was not working. At. All. So I decided to delve deep into the cellar, to pull out a wine that I had been saving, one that could reverse the intense negative mojo that had beset me. So I opted for this 2001 Joly Coulée de Serrant that I had purchased more than a dozen years ago from the PLCB for a fraction of its SRP ($35). How did that go? Well…. Amber, even a dark amber in the glass with plenty of lanolin, stewed citrus (if that is a thing), some petrol, and an overwhelming tartness. The palate? No real fruit to speak of, but plenty of intense nuttiness, intense acidity, and a finish that lasts for longer than parents’ weekend seemed. No, this is not what I think it should be, but an interesting and thought -provoking quaff, nonetheless. A 2001 white pretty much automatically gets a “Very Good” but this is more than that, is ever so slightly. Very Good. 88 Points.
NV Sean Thackrey Pleiades XVII Old Vines: Retail $24. Trying to figure out what is in this wine was futile. There were multiple websites that listed the varietal composition, but none were the same. The best I could find? From one Robert Parker (not a fan, but that is another post): “a kitchen sink blend of Carignane, Barbera, Mourvedre, Syrah, Sangiovese, and a touch of Viognier.” OK, if you say so. A friend game me this wine with these words: “I want you to try this, I think you are going to dig it.” Let the record show that I accepted the wine begrudgingly as I’m fairly confident that I have never “dug” a wine. Well, maybe, um, until now. My friend (?) Wilfred Wong (can I call you a friend, Willie?) had an absolutely fantastic write-up of this wine on Wine.com which I have no hopes of replicating, but this wine is fruity, fun, nuanced, and even introspective. That is a lot to pack into a wine that is under twenty-five bucks. And as a cherry on top? It got better with more time open. OK. I dig it. Excellent. 91 Points.
2005 Villa Erbice Amarone della Valpolicella Vigneto Tremenel: Retail $65. B.A.B. Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara, Corvina Grossa. I bought six bottles of this wine way back in 2012 from CinderellaWine.com (the flash site operated by Wine Library of Gary Vaynerchuk fame), but I have not tried a bottle in a hot minute. Rich (and a bit stewed) fruit of dark cherry and black raspberry, with bits of forrest floor, anise, and just a hint of mocha. The fruit on the palate is both subdued and stewed (slightly) with ample acidity and a lovely balance. I have stated before that I am no expert when it comes to Amarone and while this adds to my repertoire, it by no means “completes” it. Still, this is perfectly pleasant and wonderfully quaffable right now. Very Good. 89 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Compared to last week where all the wines this week came in at “Excellent” or “Outstanding”, this week was a decided drop off in terms of quality. Still, we opened a few really interesting bottles, many with a few years of age on them. While at the bottom of the heap, at least when it comes to my scores, the 2001 Nicolas Joly Clos de la Coulée de Serrant easily made the most impact, as it is not all that common to pull the cork of a 20-year old white wine (at least in this house). Sure, it was not where I had hoped it would be for my last bottle of this wine, but “losses” like this cause me to appreciate the “wins” that much more.
What was/were your Wine(s) of the Week?