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).
2006 Arcadian Syrah Westerly Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley, CA: Retail $50. Under cork. Bottle One: Well, it has been a minute since I had a bottle of this wine which I purchased nearly a decade ago from WineAccess. The only thing worse than holding onto a wine for so long that it goes bad is holding onto a wine for a really long time only to find out that it is corked. Badly corked. Ugh. Even Double Ugh. Bottle Two: Retail $50. Under cork. Seeing that the only thing worse than opening a corked bottle is holding onto the other bottle of the same wine for another half-dozen years or so to discover that it is also corked, I decided to pop this bottle as well, given the disaster that was the first. Much, much better. Certainly “old” and a bit “stewed” on the nose, this wine really shines on the palate. Great fruit, surprisingly bracing acidity, richness, and lovely depth are all characteristics–but I ain’t gonna lie: it’s time to drink up fo sho. Outstanding. 94 Points.
2006 Jacquart Champagne Brut Millésimé, France: Retail $60. Blend? (I looked but no luck.) It has been a while since I both had this wine and had a champagne with a number in front of it. Golden color, plenty of yeasty notes, and loads of tree fruit, brioche, caramel, lemon curd, and just a hint of oxidation—all of what I love in aged champagne. Just short of a Whoa. Really a lovely, somewhat “affordable” vintage champagne. Excellent. 92 Points.
2012 Kokomo Merlot Pauline’s Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, CA: Retail $45(?). I have little idea how I came across this bottle, but I imagine Erik Miller gave it to me when I came to town to taste a friend’s 2013 Merlot that Erik also made. Fairly dark in the glass for a Merlot with an absolutely gorgeous nose of red and black fruit, vanilla, and rose petal. The palate, even almost a decade past harvest, is loaded with fruit, just packed full of blackberry, raspberry, and plum. Yowza. But this is far from a one-trick pony with incredible tartness and surprising depth. Holy cow. But the scene-stealer (if there is one)? The finish. Lasting for what seemed like minutes, this lovely wine not only grabbed my attention, it held it for well after the last sip was gone. Outstanding. 95 Points.
2013 Macchia Zinfandel Lodi Native Schmiedt Ranch, Lodi, CA: Retail $50. Big ass bottle. I am not entirely sure how this bottle came into my possession as I have only tasted the Lodi Native wines on a couple of occasions (and both were in Lodi). Macchia has always struck me as having a “full-throttle” approach to Zin and this wine certainly follows suit with dark fruit and heavy spice on the nose. Whoa. Big. All of that and more is found on the palate with rich, unctuous, jammy fruit, a boatload of spice, and some acidity in there (somewhere). Look, this is not my style of Zin, but this is a particularly compelling example of the other end of the spectrum. Outstanding. 93 Points.
2004 Michele Chiarlo Barolo Tortoniano, Italy: Retail $40. 100% Nebbiolo. Not the most expensive Barolo on the market (although I did see this 2004 online for $135–price gouge much?), but it is a solid effort and has aged quite well thus far. Much more bricking on the rim, with more tertiary notes developing: leather, un-smoked cigar, grilled steak. The fruit is pretty much non-existent at this point, but the acidity is alive and kicking, thank you very much with largely integrated tannins and a lengthy finish. I would not hold onto this all that much longer, however. Excellent. 91 Points.
2008 Charles & Alphrede (Ch. & A.) Prieur Champagne Grand Prieur Millesime Brut, France: Retail $85? Blend? Simply put, there is not a ton of information about this wine (or producer, for that matter) online. And I looked. Nor was there any info on the producer in Richard Juhlin’s book, A Scent of Champagne, which I consider the authority on my favorite style of wine. Nada. Oh well, this wine is incredible, regardless. Yeasty, fruity, mineral, this has a wonderful, inviting nose that I could sniff for the rest of the evening (it involves binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy with my wife, so it is a really low bar, but…). The palate is even more notable than the nose, with rich fruit, all that brioche, and a tartness that is remarkable. Having said all of that, like many of the best champagnes, the finish is perhaps the story here, long and layered. Whoa. Outstanding. 94 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: With the notable exception of the corked bottle of Arcadian, it was another solid week in the drunken cyclist household when it came to pulling some wines from the cellar, which included not one, but two vintage champagnes, one of which I selected as this week’s Wine of the Week. While the 2012 Kokomo Pauline’s Vineyard Merlot was the best wine this week, I neglected to take a picture of it and the recycling crew already has taken ownership of the empty bottle. [On a side note, if you have never tried Erik Miller’s wines at Kokomo in Dry Creek Valley, you need to add it to your bucket list.] So instead, I am going with the 2008 Ch. & A. Prieur Champagne. Not only is it one of the first bottles I have cracked from one of Champagne’s finest-ever vintages, I also remembered to take a picture of the bottle before it too went in the recycling bin.
What was/were your Wine(s) of the Week?