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).
2008 Amelle Zinfandel Buck Hill, Sonoma County, CA: Retail $25. Under cork. I have written a ton about this now-defunct winery and this wine in particular. But I made a rookie mistake. A terrible mistake. I pulled this wine without checking my inventory. Ugh. Friends were over and I thought I had two left but there was but one. As. In. The. Last. One. And that makes me sad since this is one of my favorite wines of all time and I will never be able to get another. EVER. Ugh. My final notes, stained now with tears: a real Pinot Noir lover’s type of Zin. There is fruit (black cherry), but it is reserved as the grapes come from a cooler climate spot. The result is a more delicate approach with integrated spice and elements of earth. Whoa. Outstanding. 94 Points.
NV Barbier-Louvet Champagne Grand Cru Cuvée D’Ensemble, France: Retail $55. 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay. The winery is located in Tauxières-Mutry, a Premier Cru village on the Montagne de Reims, but the wine is classified as a Grand Cru, so the fruit likely comes from the nearby villages of Bouzy and Louvois. Pale to golden straw in the glass with plenty of green apple and fresh brioche. Yum. The palate is fruity, lively, and rich, with a lengthy finish–just delicious from start to finish. Outstanding. 93 Points.
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. 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 why. Excellent. 91 Points.
2016 B Kosuge Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, CA: Retail $45. Under DIAM 10. As with his Pinots, we are such fans of Byron’s Chards that we used to buy this Sonoma Coast by the case. I met Byron Kosuge two decades ago, as I was exploring my inner Pinot along the West Coast. His Pinots are, of course, top-notch, but his Chardonnay (I believe he still only bottles this one) was what really took me aback. On top of all his winemaking prowess, he is really a fantastic guy, which makes it even better. Good citrus fruit, vanilla, a bit of oak, and balancing acidity. Just a wonderful wine that is clearly holding up beautifully. Outstanding. 93 Points.
2021 Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé, France: Retail $25. Cinsault, Grenache, Rolle, Syrah. If you are ever in need of a story where two people try their hardest to screw each other over and in the process end up destroying something wonderful, look to Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, and Château Miraval. I have no idea who the real villain is here, but both halves of the former Brangelina look complicit from where I sit. The wine, however, is as gorgeous as previous vintages: great fruit, gripping tartness, impeccable balance, and a lasting finish. Whoa. What a shame if this wine ceases to exist because of two talented but unbelievably entitled and vindictive individuals. Excellent. 92 Points.
2018 Tongue Dancer Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, CA: I originally tasted this two-plus years ago upon release and loved it. In fact, I loved it so much that I did something I rarely do: I bought more of it. Here is the original note I wrote, which holds true today. Retail $49. This Pinot from James MacPhail is a blend of two Sonoma Coast Vineyards: Putnam and Sexton Road. Fairly dark in both color and aromas (dark cherry, eucalyptus, mint), but bright, tart, and fruity on the palate. Initially, this wine was a bit tense and nervous, but it was clear that the stuffing was there for an incredible wine. After a day open and a bit of rest, I revisited. Whoa. Sure, the fruit is front and center, but behind all that exuberance is balancing acidity, depth of flavors, and silky tannins. Yet another stellar effort from the Tongue Dancer team. Outstanding. 95 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Once I had amassed all of the tasting notes for this post, it was clear which wine would be the Wine of the Week. Sure, there were a ton of great contenders, but whenever I drink the last of a wine, particularly a wine that will never be made again, and it is a 15-year-old Zinfandel that tastes as fresh as it did the first time I cracked one? Yeah. It wins. The problem was that I did not take a photo of this last bottle when we consumed it; we had friends over and staging a photo did not ever enter my mind. I figured I had another photo somewhere in the eleven years of photos I have here, and I did. I did not realize, however, that this wine was one of the very first Wines of the Week, way back in November of 2012. Back then I had over a case of this wine and little did I know how long I would be able to ration it and how utterly wonderful it remained until the very last drop of the final bottle.
What was/were your Wine(s) of the Week?