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).
2017 B Kosuge Pinot Noir The Shop, Carneros, CA: Retail $35. 100% Pinot Noir. This has been my wife’s favorite Pinot for some time now and we usually buy it by the case so that she has something in the house she can drink without asking whenever I am out of town. Thus, as it turns out, this is the first bottle I have had of this wine in quite some time. Dark in the glass with considerable black cherry fruit, a touch of clove, and some black pepper. The palate is fruity (but nowhere near over-the-top), with some nice acidity for balance and structure. Above-average finish. I have long been a fan of Byron’s wines, and this is a great reason as to why. Excellent. 91 Points.
2002 Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Chabot Vineyard, St. Helena, Napa Valley, CA: Retail $80. B.A.B. Given the relative scarcity of this single-vineyard Cab from the early aughts, the information regarding this wine is scarce, so I am flying a bit by the seat of my pants here. Quite dark in the glass, on the verge of brooding, this wine has a complex mélange of aromas and flavors. While plum, cassis, black raspberry, dominate the nose, the palate is perhaps defined by the tartness and integrated tannins. Sure, this could last a tad longer in the cellar, but no need to wait! Excellent. 92 Points.
2006 Bernhard Eifel Trittenheimer Altärchen Riesling Spätlese D, Mosel Valley, Germany: Retail $48. Fairly amber in the glass, almost an orange wine in color which always provokes a “yikes!” But no need to worry. This wine is close-to-off-the-charts good with plenty of citrus, baked Golden Delicious apple, and plenty of that petrol-based goodness. Yowza. The palate, as one would expect, is laced with a zingy tartness, plenty of that orchard-fresh fruit, and just a kiss of sweetness. Holy cow and a Whoa. This is quite good. Outstanding. 93 Points.
2012 Fields Family Wines Syrah Estate, Lodi, CA: Retail $25. I like to think of Ryan Sherman, the winemaker at Fields, as a friend so when I popped this open, I naturally thought of him and the brief time we have spent together in Lodi. This bottle also served to reaffirm that Ryan is a talented winemaker; a decade out and this wine is singing. Great fruit, a healthy dose of spice, plenty of body, a still vibrant acidity, this wine really does have all one looks for in a Syrah. Excellent. 91 Points.
2007 Flowers Pinot Noir Frances Thompson Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, CA: Retail $65. B.A.B. 100% Pinot Noir. I bought two bottles of this wine at the winery way back in 2010. While most of my focus on Flowers has been directed at the Chardonnay side of things, make no mistake, the winery built its reputation based on the quality of its Pinot Noirs. This single-vineyard wine is remarkably dark in the glass with aromas of black cherry (a bit Kool-Aid-y, truth be told). and a dash of earth. The palate is equally dark (but not “mysterious”) and still incredibly youthful with oodles of cherry fruit, more earth than I expected, and a healthy dose of tartness. OK, whoa. This 15-year-old wine is still holding up wonderfully, thank you very much. Outstanding. 94 Points.
2005 Domaine Jean Monnier & Fils Pommard 1er Cru Les Argillières, France: Retail $75(?). 100% Pinot Noir. I bought four bottles of this wine from WTSO back in 2014 and this is, surprisingly, the first that I have cracked. Fairly light in the glass with a balanced nose of subtle fruit, plenty of spice, and just a hint of the characteristic Burgundian funk that I actually like (in moderation). The palate is simply delightful, and again, wonderfully balanced with some initial fruit, joined by a near-perfect amount of acidity on the mid-palate, and ending with a lengthy finish. Whoa. Outstanding. 94 Points.
2014 Château La Nerthe Côtes du Rhône Villages Les Cassagnes de la Nerthe, France: Retail $28. B.A.B. 55% Grenache Noir, 35% Syrah, 7% Cinsault, 3% Mourvèdre. A couple of years ago, the export manager for Château la Nerthe was at my house and we conducted a tasting of the wines. There were a few bottles left over, which he graciously left for me. I have loved every bottle of Cassagnes I have tried and this one is no exception. Fairly dark in the glass, with black raspberry and garrigue dominant on the nose, Yowza. The palate is fantastic with just the right amounts of fruit, acidity, and earth. It finishes with some tannins, suggesting I need not be in a big hurry to get to my last bottle of this wine. Fantastic. Excellent. 91 Points.
2006 Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Evenstad Reserve, Willamette Valey, OR: Retail $65? I bought three bottles of this wine online, just a couple of months shy of a decade ago, for just under $40/bottle. The first bottle was Outstanding (but a little stewed), the second was decidedly better, and under this last cork? Holy cow–certainly the best of the lot. Bright, dark cherry fruit in the glass with equal parts vanilla, earth, and spice. Yowza. The palate? Even better. Maybe much better with rich fruit, zingy acidity, incredible balance, and a lengthy finish. Not much else to clamor for, no? Whoa. Outstanding. 95 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: This was a bit of a strange week; while we went through a host of really nice wines, there was nary a champagne to be had. That has to be a mistake, as I likely just did not write any notes on the bottles of bubbles we undoubtedly had. When it comes to choosing the Wine of the Week, though, it seemed at first that the 2006 Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Evenstad Reserve would have been the logical choice since it checked several boxes: great wine, the last bottle in my possession, and the highest-scoring wine of the week. Instead, I opted for the 2005 Domaine Jean Monnier & Fils Pommard 1er Cru Les Argillières as this week’s top honor. Why? Well, there was a time when I drank a lot of Burgundy, when it was relatively affordable and plentiful. Now? The prices have gone through the roof (when you can actually find them). So this bottle took me back to a happier time and reminded me of the fondness I have for wines from this region of France. (And I remembered to take a picture of the bottle.)
What was/were your Wine(s) of the Week?