What We Have Been Drinking—9/26/2022

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).

2009 Domaine La Colliere Rasteau, Rhône Valley, France: Retail $20. 80% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre. I picked this up from Last Bottle Wines for a paltry ten bucks (it was part of a “Mystery Case” for $120 and I did the math), which is pretty shocking since Robert Parker gave it 93 points (for whatever that is worth). While many here on Cellar Tracker think this should have been consumed a handful of years ago, I can report that this Côtes du Rhône Villages is still holding up quite well. Dark in the glass, even really dark, with little signs of age and an intense nose of Crème de Cassis, blackberry, plum, and black pepper. There is also a slight herbal note of sage and mint. Yum. The palate is also fantastic with great fruit, earth, spice, and balance. I don’t know about 93 points, but this is certainly Excellent. Excellent. 91 Points.

2011 Failla Pinot Noir Whistler Vineyard, Sonoma County, CA: Retail $50. I bought these at the winery a while ago (March 2013) and effectively forgot about them until tonight. Oops. We have been big fans of Failla for decades now and would have loved to have kept up with the brand but they offer neither media samples nor even media discounts. I get it: small production and an active mailing list equal a minuscule desire to offer up the wines at a discount (or worse, for free). But I hope the kind people at Failla also realize that there is a ton of wine (and most of it good) produced in the world and if I am going to take the time to write a (hopefully) well-thought and articulate post about the wine and disseminating it to tens of thousands of people, well…

Does that sound elitist? Be honest.

As for the wine itself? Rather dark in the glass, particularly for a Pinot, and the requisite Sonoma Coast aromas of black cherry, eucalyptus, and sage. Yeah. This gets a Whoa right there. Fruity, bright, tart, balanced, and nuanced on the palate–which all would expect from an Ehren Jordan wine. Fantastic.  Outstanding. 93 Points.

2006 Melville Syrah High Density, Sta Rita Hills, CA: Retail $36 (on release, now??). Under cork and wax. Made by Greg Brewer. Whoa. I last tasted this wine, which I purchased in 2008 while I was still a poor doctoral student, a handful of years ago and I absolutely loved it. Now? Holy cow and another whoa. Really dark in the glass, so much co that the two others at the table guessed 2014 and 2016 (I served it blind). Nope. Plenty of dark fruit, black pepper, and an herbal element (sage?). The palate? Holy mother of god. I loved this five (?) years ago and I am enamored now. Holy cow. Fantastic doesn’t begin to describe it. Let’s bump this up several notches. Outstanding. 95 Points.

2007 Monarchia Pinot Noir Eger, Hungary: Retail $15? I bought three bottles of this wine way back in 2010 and while I tasted the first two bottles some time ago, this last bottle has lingered in the cellar. Why? Actually, I think I was *afraid* to drink it as the first two bottles were, well, regrettable. this bottle? You know? It is actually not that bad. At all. Sure it will not cause me to pour out the Grand Cru Burgundy I have in the cellar. Nor will it cause are to renounce either the Willamette or Russian River Valley, but it is a passable quaff. Very Good. 87 Points.

2020 Stephen Ross Albariño Spanish Springs Vineyard, Edna Valley, CA:  Retail $28. Under screw top. As I continue along this wine writing path, I count more and more producers as “friends.” I realize that is perhaps dangerous or at least suggests bias. Perhaps. But when it comes to Stephen and Paula Dooley, owners of Stephen Ross? Our friendship predates my blog, so there is no bias. Perfect logic. So when I say this is one of the best Albariños I have tried–regardless of the continent–I am not jaded at all by the affinity I have for the couple. Bright fruit, zingy acidity, and just a level of chutzpah that, as I said, I can’t remember experiencing in an Albariño. Bravo. Outstanding. 94 Points.

WINE OF THE WEEK: Before I get to the Wine of the Week, I thought I would point out that this is the first week in a very long time that there are not any champagnes reviewed in this space. That does not mean, of course, that we didn’t drink any bubbles, it just means that I was far too lazy to take any meaningful notes. With that out of the way, the choice this week for the top spot was not an easy one. Both the Stephen Ross Albariõ and the Failla Whistler Pinot were beautiful wines and well-worthy to be the top wine this week, but I instead opted for the 2006 Melville Syrah High Density since it renewed my faith in aging certain wines and caused me to reflect on the little time I have spent with Greg Brewer (who is no longer the winemaker at Melville, sadly) and what an extremely nice guy he is.

 What was/were your Wine(s) of the Week?




About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Albariño, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What We Have Been Drinking—9/26/2022

  1. Paula Dooley says:

    Thanks, Jeff!
    I might have that Melville in my cellar….gotta look.


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