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).
2010 Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) Los Vascos Grande Réserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Colchagua Valley, Chile: Retail $18? Good fruit, a bit of smoke, and certainly some spice on the nose while the palate is fruity, balanced, and enticing. Sure, this might be on the downward slope, but it is quite good right now so drink up! Excellent. 90 Points.
2011 Cellier des Ursulines Santenay 1er Cru Passetemps Blanc, Burgundy, France: Retail 16€. 100% Chardonnay. I was in Burgundy for the Hospices de Beaune and I was perhaps the sickest I have been in my entire life. This was back in 2017 so I doubt it was you-know-what, but boy was I sick. One afternoon, however, I was feeling better than awful and I headed out about town and ended up buying this in a random shop near my VRBO. Opening it tonight, I realize I waited too long. Not all that long ago, waiting a dozen years to open a quality white Burgundy would not have been a risk, but premature oxidation is real and still prevalent. Don’t get me wrong, this is not overly oxidized, but its golden color, its nutty overtones, and its relative lack of fruit confirm it. Again, it is a pleasant quaff, but not what it should be. Flawed. Not Rated.
NV Gallimard Père et Fils Champagne Grande Réserve Chardonnay Les Riceys, France: Retail $50. 100% Chardonnay. Purchased from Last Bottle. 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.
2007 Château Palmer, Margaux, Bordeaux, France: Retail $120. 49% Merlot, 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot. I had a dinner for a few of my tasting friends and one brought this Palmer. I do not have much experience with the brand, but it is safe to say that it is a solid effort, even given what turned out to be a difficult or “off” year in the region. Good, but short of “ample” fruit on the nose, along with a healthy dose of menthol. The palate is fruity, sure, but in the most reserved way, with driving acidity, and touches of spice. Not anyone’s idea of a “great” Bordeaux, but I will take a glass of this all day long. Excellent. 91 Points.
2010 Skewis Pinot Noir Lingenfelder, Russian River Valley, CA: Retail $50. Under cork. My wife has made it abundantly clear on countless occasions that she is not a fan of “old wine” and in particular “old Pinot.” So, when she indicated that she was “done for the night” I opted for a wine from a producer that no longer is in business that also had over a dozen years on it. I have loved Skewis wines for some time, but this might be the best that I remember tasting. Fairly dark in color, with wonderful (and abundant) red fruit aromas in the glass along with hints of spice and herbs. Lovely. The palate is much of the same, but the intensity of the fruit is remarkable–I doubt few, if tasting this blind, would have guessed 2010. Amazing. Outstanding. 95 Points.
2020 Turley Zinfandel Old Vines, California: Retail $32. On-Premise: $49. One of our favorite local restaurants recently raised their wine prices by roughly 20-50% across the board so my normal choice of Piper-Heidsieck no longer made sense. I opted for this. Glad I did. While I still overpaid (relative to the previous pricing structure), I was completely happy with the choice. Medium color in the glass (particularly for a Zin) with rich fruit, plenty of eucalyptus, and just a dash of heat (15.2%). The palate is much the same, with fruit predominant but also good balance, rendering the heat issue practically moot. Sure, at fifty bucks? There are better retail options out there, but dining on one of my favorite burgers without the obligation to clean up? Close to priceless. Excellent. 91 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Easy. As in really easy. Picking the Wine of the Week this go around was much easier than usual with the 2010 Skewis Pinot Noir Lingenfelder standing head, shoulders, torso, and legs above the others this week. Had I lined them all up beforehand? I probably would have gone with the 2007 Palmer based on reputation, but that’s why we pull the corks, as they say. I still have quite a few bottles of Skewis in the cellar (have I mentioned that my wife does not like “old” wine so the occasions to open them are few), so I imagine another bottle or seven of Skewis Pinot will “win” this coveted “award” but I just need to find someone to help me drink them!
What was/were your Wine(s) of the Week?