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).
NV Drappier Champagne Carte d’Or Brut, France: Retail $50. 75% Pinot Noir, 15% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Meunier. The last time I had a bottle of this wine, I was sitting outside at a lovely restaurant in Blois, France with my lovely wife. Tonight? Pretty much the same thing without the al fresco restaurant in France part of it. Light straw with lovely golden delicious fruit, a lovely yeastiness, and a slight almond note. The palate is quite fruity, with a lovely sparkle, balancing acidity, and a lengthy finish. Yeah, another good bottle. Nay, a great one. Excellent. 90 Points.
2007 Karl Erbes Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese, Mosel, Germany: Retail $26. Under screw cap. It has been nearly three years since I cracked a bottle of this wine, and it is doing quite fine, thank you very much. Quite tropical on the nose with a measured dose of petrol, and a healthier splash of minerality. The palate is clean and fresh, even fifteen years after vintage, sure, it is a bit sweet, but with the ample acidity, it certainly works. Really fantastic. Excellent. 92 Points.
NV Gallimard Père et Fils Champagne Grande Réserve Chardonnay, France: Retail $50. 100% Chardonnay. Purchased from Last Bottle Wines A bit golden in the glass, suggesting a bit of age on this non-vintage Blanc de Blancs with loads of baked Granny Smith apple pie with a lovely yeasty, flaky crust. The palate is quite nice as well with a lip-smacking tartness to go along with all that freshly-baked apple pie goodness. I have said dozens of times that I am not a fan of the Blanc de Blancs style, but when it has a bit of age on it (like it seems this bottle does), the body intensifies while the elegance remains. A winning combo in my book. Excellent. 92 Points.
2010 Failla Chardonnay Keefer Ranch, Russian River Valley, CA: Retail $50. Big. Ass. Bottle. Under cork. I have been a fan of Failla from the moment that I delved into American wine. In my book, Ehren Jordan is one of the country’s top winemakers, and his wines are consistently among my favorites every year. I purchased this bottle at the winery nearly a decade ago, in March of 2013, and I decided tonight was the night to pop it. Why? Sunday? End of October? Evening? My point is that you should never wait for the perfect moment to open an amazing bottle–tomorrow that bottle might be less amazing. Well, tonight, it was just that: amazing. Luscious citrus meringue, a hint of oak, and loads of deliciousness characterize both the nose and the palate of this incredible wine. Fabulous. Outstanding. 95 Points.
2013 M2 Vintners Tempranillo Kirschenman Vineyard, Lodi, CA: Retail $25. Big ass bottle. 100% Tempranillo. If Layne Montgomery is not a legend in Lodi, I am not quite sure who is. He has been making wines in the region for decades and his outspoken, bigger-than-life personality is as well-known as his beefy, boisterous, and, yes, bigger-than-life wines. When I met with him back in 2016, he handed me this Tempranillo with a simple “try this.” While I imagine he wanted me to try it relatively soon after taking possession of the bottle, now? Six years out? Close to a whoa. Dark, inky, and just on the verge of brooding, this wine is pretty incredible. Yes, the focus is on the fruit, which it has in spades, but there is spice, depth, and plenty of intrigue. Okay, Whoa. And well-deserved. Outstanding. 93 Points.
2018 de Négoce Cabernet Sauvignon OG N.46, Atlas Peak, Napa Valley, CA: Retail $240/case (plus ship and tax). I bought a case of this wine from what was then a relatively new venture by Cameron Hughes, the Californian négociant. I was particularly impressed with this wine initially and somewhat amazed at what Mr. Hughes was able to produce. Fruity, but far from overly so, with a good balance of acidity and tannic structure. While I have come down a bit from my earlier perch on this wine, it is still a fantastic wine and has a long life ahead of it, perhaps 5-10 years. Excellent. 92 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: A host of great choices for Wine of the Week, but I opted for the obvious choice, the 2010 Failla Chardonnay Keefer Ranch, despite the fact that the photo I took of the bottle was less than stellar. As I mentioned in the note, we have been fans of Failla for just about as long as we have been making trips to Napa Valley (despite the fact that almost all the wines that Ehren Jordan makes at Failla come from Sonoma County, the winery and tasting room is on the Silverado Trail in Napa). While it was his Pinot Noirs that initially lured me in, we have since gravitated toward his Chardonnays which I place right up there with Littorai and Tongue Dancer as the best producers of Chardonnay in Sonoma County. It was also refreshing to know that unlike many of its Burgundian counterparts, this Failla has held up quite well over the past dozen years (and was a perfect pairing for my new salad creation).
What was/were your Wine(s) of the Week?