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).
2010 Amelle Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, CA: Retail $35. When winemaker Eric Buffington decided to close up shop on his winery, I helped him sell a bit of his stock. As a thank you, he sent me a few bottles of this wine as a thank you. While he did not need to do that, I was quite appreciative. But it was not until I opened the first bottle (of the three he sent) of this wine that I realized how thankful I really was. Holy cow. Medium color, great fruit, fantastic tartness, and plenty of depth. Whoa. This is particularly fantastic. Outstanding. 94 Points.
2003 Delectus Cabernet Sauvignon Sacrashe Vineyard, Rutherford, Napa Valley, CA: Retail $150(?). 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Big ass bottle. We were invited to a dinner party, maybe the first we even considered attending since, well, you know… They told us they were making beef, so I grabbed this older Napa Cab that I’ve had for a while. Whoa. Aromas of rich black fruit, earth, and dark spice. Yowza. The palate, while certainly rich and fruity, is incredibly balanced with a thread of acidity and integrated tannins. Whoa. Yowza. Holy mother of…. Outstanding. 95 Points.
NV Paul Dethune Champagne Grand Cru Nature Ambonnay, France: Retail $60. 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay. This Grand Cru beauty comes from a relatively small grower/producer in Ambonnay, one of the storied villages on the Montagne de Reims. This is the eighth bottle of 12 that I purchased from Last Bottle and there is no doubt that this is a stellar champagne. Light straw with a vibrant sparkle, consistent fruit (tons of pear), and a smidge of yeasty goodness all in the glass. The palate is quite tart and a slight deviation from the previous bottles. Yes, it is Excellent, and the trend seems to be going upward with these bottles. Excellent. 92 Points.
NV Gardet Champagne Premier Cru Brut, France: Retail $50. 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier. According to Cellar Tracker, I have purchased two cases of this wine from Last Bottle (if one counts the six magnum as case of 12x750ml) and after this bottle, I am down to one 750ml and one magnum. I sure hope it comes up again soon on the site since at ~$30? This is a bargain. A bit of a golden color, a fantastic nose of lemon curd and brioche, with a palate bristling with fruit, zest, and yeasty wonderfulness. On the verge of a whoa. Excellent. 91 Points.
2006 Louis Latour Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Caillerets, Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France: Retail $100. Big ass bottle. 100% Chardonnay. It has been another couple of years since I popped the last bottle and since the first two bottles were stellar, given the recent history of pre-mature oxidation, I naturally figured that this wine would be one of those pour-this-one-down-the-drain bottles. Except it wasn’t. In fact, it was fabulous. Sure, as with the previous two bottles, the fruit was somewhat faded, but there were hints of lemon tart, vanilla bean, and a subtle, slightly toasty oak note. The palate is pretty close to gangbusters, but in that oh-so-wonderful white Burgundy way, elegant, refined, impeccably balanced. Whoa. Outstanding. 94 Points.
NV Nicolas Maillart Champagne Premier Cru Platine, France: Retail $40. Disgorged July, 2018. Another six months or so has passed since I popped the past bottle of this wine and sadly, this is on the back label of this one, too: “78% Pinot Noir, 16% Chardonnay, 8% Meunier.” Come on people, I know that math is hard but really? And don’t give me the “we like to give 102%” bull crap either. Yeesh. My previous notes still hold true, although this bottle seems to be a slight notch below the last. Excellent. 91 Points.
2010 Trione Primitivo Home Ranch, Alexander Valley, CA: Retail $40. Big ass bottle. 100% Primitivo. I bought this way back in 2013 and I have held onto it through the move to Texas (2016), Hurricane Harvey, and my in-laws moving in right behind us. I decided to open it during another potential disaster, a tornado warning and severe thunderstorms here in Houston. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew that Trione is a top producer in Sonoma County and I have always respected their wines. Still, over a decade out past harvest? I was cautious. When the first glass poured had a rather large hunk of sediment, I was a bit apprehensive, but I trudged forward with the anticipation that this might be the last bottle of wine I open for some time (growing up in the Midwest, I realize that this last statement was overly dramatic, but work with me). Subdued fruit on the nose, but the palate is still quite fruity, with oodles of red and dark berries. There is also a boatload of acidity and considerable depth. Who says Zin can’t age? Whoa. Outstanding. 94 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Wow, Looking back at this particular week, we were certainly fortunate to have popped several fantastic wines and there were a number of them in the running for the highly coveted Wine of the Week. Surprisingly, none of those was a champagne for the first time in quite a while. Perhaps the “best” wine was the 2003 Delectus Cabernet, but I have very little connection to the wine (I bought it online several years ago) and other than the fact that it sat in my cellar for over a decade, there really is nothing more to note. Both the Trione and the Amelle have more interesting stories, but in the end, I opted for the 2006 Louis Latour Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Caillerets as this week’s top wine. Why? Well, with every white Burgundy I open, I become quite religious, praying to a variety of gods, begging for the wine not to be oxidized as so many are these days. This one wasn’t. It was glorious. Now I just need to figure out which one of the gods heard my plea.
What was/were your Wine(s) of the Week?