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, Willamette Valley, 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 two-thirds 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.” Outstanding. 94 Points.
NV L. Aubry Fils Champagne Premier Cru Brut, France: Retail $50. Disgorged?? 35% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay, 5% Arbanne, Petit Meslier, and Fromenteau. Unfortunately, unlike the other bottles of this wine I have opened, there is no disgorgement date on this bottle, so I can not be sure of which “batch” this is. Golden in the glass with a decided “older champagne” vibe to it; lemon curd and green apple dominate the nose with caramel croissant along for the ride. The palate is tart and delicious with plenty of fruit as well as a healthy handful of yeasty goodness. Bravo, but a slight step below previous iterations I have opened. Excellent. 92 Points.
2014 Goodkin Vineyards Merlot Estate Reserve, Dry Creek Valley, CA: Retail?? 100% Dry Creek Merlot. It has been a minute since I have cracked a bottle of this wine and it was a bit of a sad moment. This was a wine made by the vineyard owner, but only meant for personal consumption. Since I “helped” with the bottling, I was gifted a case and this is already the ninth bottle I’ve popped (why this is only the third note I’ve written is a very good question). I have recounted dozens of times my ambivalence towards Merlot (it’s not as bold as Cab but not as complex as Pinot). But. This. Merlot. I’ve driven, ridden, walked the ten acres of this vineyard countless times and while I’d stop short of saying “I *know* this vineyard” we are at least familiar faces. Fruity and surprisingly spicy on the nose with verve and gravitas, yowza. The palate is both fruity and elegant with blue and black fruit (plum, blackberry) predominant, an intense tartness on the mid-palate, and a finish that encourages me to hold onto the remaining three bottles for quite some time. Whoa. 94. Outstanding. 94 Points.
2001 MacPhail Merlot, Dry Creek Valley, CA: Retail $45? Big Ass Bottle. 100% Merlot. I have professed (hopefully poetically) about my disdain for both Merlot (meh) and heavy bottles (needs to change), but this incredible wine from James MacPhail made me question one of those stances. I opened this wanting just one more glass on a Friday night when the family had abandoned me with just one issue of Ted Lasso to go. And boy did this wine fill the void wonderfully. I was a tad bit worried, though, that corking up this bottle before writing a note would not end well as the ample fruit was a bit stewed and came off as slightly oxidized. 24 hours later, though? Yowza. This wine not only improved, it garnered a spot as one of my all-time favorite Merlots. Dark in color, oozing black fruit (blackberry, plum, cassis), this is surprisingly light on the palate, driven by the fruit, yes, but also a zingy tartness that holds the wine together wonderfully. Whoa. Outstanding. 93 Points.
2004 Domaine Bernard Moreau et Fils Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot La Cardeuse Rouge, France: Retail $75. 100% Pinot Noir. I bought six bottles of this wine waaaay back in 2006 from a wine shop in Chassagne, Le Caveau. This is the first bottle in almost two years that we’ve popped and while it seems to have aged a bit since the last, it still is quite stellar. The fruit is a bit faded, particularly on the nose, where I pick up some raspberry coulis and evidence of whole cluster fermentation (it’s a bit “stemmy”) and a bit of that classic “Burgundy barnyard.” The palate is tart and surprisingly fruity, a full 17 years out past vintage, with plenty of earth
and verve. This is fantastic, but I should get to the last two bottles fairly quickly. Still, this bottle is fantastic. Excellent. 92 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: After what seems like spending the entire month on the road (and none of it for “fun” reasons), I found myself back in Houston this past week and it was quite nice to be home. My older son is back from college for a couple of weeks, the dog is happy to see everyone together again, and the weather has been fantastic (I happily gave up “dreaming of a white Christmas” five years ago, shortly after we moved to Houston when it was 80°F [~21°C], just as it was this year). All that joy caused me to open some Merlot? Yeah, it is rather strange for me to open any bottle of Merlot, much less two in any given week. But, alas, I succumbed to my inner merlot lover and opened two real beauties this week. The first was a private wine that I received from a good friend several years ago, the 2014 Goodkin Vineyard Merlot, and he would be thrilled to know that it is probably drinking as well now as it has at any point. The Wine of the Week, however, goes to the 2001 MacPhail Merlot, Dry Creek Valley, another wine sent along by a friend and who would be equally thrilled that the wine has held up so beautifully two decades out from harvest.
What was/were your Wine(s) of the Week?