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).
2007 Cargasacchi Pinot Noir Cargasacchi-Jalama Vineyard, Santa Barbara County, CA: Retail $50(?). It has been a bit since I opened a bottle of this and since it had been a tough week I needed a solid, even fantastic Pinot. This qualifies. Dark in the glass with surprisingly great fruit (blackberry, dark cherry), spice (clove, dark pepper), and some dark earth. Holy cow. Whoa. The palate is pretty close to off the charts with, again, surprising fruit, an incredibly rich mouthfeel, more than a modicum of spice, wonderful tartness, and supple, integrated tannins. Yowza. Really fantastic. Outstanding. 95 Points.
NV Duval-Leroy Champagne Brut Réserve, France: Retail $50. 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay. From Last Bottle this has a bit of a mixed bag, but this wine, albeit noticeably “old” was nonetheless fantastic. A bit of funk on the nose (I love the funk), but plenty of fruit (peach and pear), considerable yeastiness, and verve that I, fortunately, find in many a Champers. Excellent. 92 Points.
NV A. R. Lenoble Champagne Cuvée Intense Brut, France: Retail $50. 30% Chardonnay from Chouilly (Grand Cru), 25% Pinot Noir from Bisseuil (1er Cru), and 45% Pinot Meunier from Damery (Marne Valley). It has been a couple of years since I have popped a bottle of this wine that I purchased from LastBottleWines.com and while I certainly enjoyed (for the most part) this in the past, I was a bit trepidatious as the last bottle I had tried seemed to indicate a decline. Well, at least for this bottle, there was no need to worry as it was fantastic. Baked tree fruit, some citrus, considerable yeastiness, and a whole lot of verve. Fantastic. Excellent. 91 Points.
NV Nino Franco Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Rustico, Italy: Retail $25. 100% Glera. This bottle has graphics that indicate that it is the 100th Anniversary bottle for the winery, which occurred in 2019. That indicates that this stellar bottle has a bit of cellar age on it and, well, that is perfectly fine with me. In line with my previous assessments, the tartness has mellowed a touch with age and… yowza. Probably the best Rustico I have had. Pale straw with macadamia nut and oodles of citrus (lime mostly). The palate is clean and focused with more than ample acidity, but more of a green apple here. Outstanding. 93 Points.
2020 Pieropan Soave Classico, Italy: Retail $30. Under screwcap. 85% Garganega 15% Trebbiano de Soave. I do not drink a ton of Soave, but I should as they (or at least the good ones) are consistently delicious. Quite light straw in the glass with oodles of tree fruit (pear, peach), crushed wet rock, and honey blossom. The palate is quite linear, which is surprising for a Soave (at least to me) with a near searing acidity followed by a bit of lemony-pear fruit. This is really quite nice now, but I feel it will only get better with some cellar time in the short term. Excellent. 91 Points.
NV Domaine du Vieil Orme Crémant de Loire Gabriel, France: Retail $25. 50% Chardonnay, 50% Chenin Blanc. My mother was having a Christmas party at her home in Ann Arbor for which we ordered her a bunch of wine. Although I had never tried this wine, I have had a lot of success with Crémants from the Loire. We were in town for a funeral and there were a couple of bottles of this wine left. Giddy-up. Light straw in the glass with a fine sparkle and oodles of green apple on the nose. The palate is quite tart with plenty of minerality and verve. Nice. Very Good. 89 Points.
NV Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut, France: Retail $50. 50-55% Pinot Noir, 28-33% Chardonnay, 15-20% Pinot Meunier. Another bottle and another great experience with the good ole Veuve. I don’t need to rehash how I think VC gets so much undeserved scorn. It’s an excellent wine even though there are about three trillion bottles of the stuff every year. Excellent. 91 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Even though I have been to the Santa Rita Hills region a number of times, I never met up with Peter Cargasacchi. Every time his name was brought up, though, people not only raved about his wines and his vineyards, they also unleashed a wave of compliments directed at the man himself. He was always one of the growers in the region that I hoped to meet someday, a bucket list kind of thing. Well, in researching a bit for this post, it seems as though he has disappeared from the interwebs and it is not entirely clear if he is still farming his vineyards or making any wine. I might be traveling to the region again this Spring and I will certainly put forth an effort to track him down. In the meantime, I will just have to settle with his 2007 Cargasacchi Pinot Noir Cargasacchi-Jalama Vineyard being this week’s Wine of the Week.
What was/were your Wine(s) of the Week?