What We Have Been Drinking—4/24/2023

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).

2019 ACORN Medley Alegría Vineyards, Russian River Valley, CA: Retail $50. “20% Syrah, 20% Zinfandel, 18% Cinsaut, 8% Dolcetto, 7% Cabernet Franc, 5% Sangiovese, plus a dozen different muscats, Viognier, and other varieties.” We ordered this off the list at Willi’s Wine Bar in Santa Rosa. I have tasted several vintages of this wine now and it continues to amaze me. Quite fruity, with a tangy balance, with just a touch of spice. I recently visited with the Nachbaurs at ACORN and I heard the bittersweet news that this will be the last vintage of the Medley as the Nachbaurs will be closing the winery. While that is certainly sad for the fan of fantastic wine, it is a good outcome for the venerable couple as they plan to take a little more time for themselves. Bravo, Betsy and Bill, as this is another stellar wine. Outstanding. 95 Points. 

2003 Cave de Vouvray Vouvray “50”, Loire Valley, France: Retail $25 (500ml). 100% Chenin Blanc. It has been a minute since I popped one of these bottles (2016) and even longer (2009) since I have written a note on it. That ends tonight. Dark, really dark in the glass. Even beyond “amber” and close to “chestnut”. That gets a “whoa” just on the color. Nutty and caramelized on the nose, the palate is tart and sweet (but far from unctuous), with both the nutty and caramel aspects. I don’t drink much dessert wine these days, but this is close to gangbusters. Excellent. 92 Points.

NV Gallimard Père et Fils Champagne Cuvée de Réserve Blanc de Noirs, France: Retail $50. Purchased from Last Bottle for ~$30. 100% Pinot Noir from l’Aube. I was off at a wine tasting and my wife ventured into the cellar and pulled this. She was quite proud of the fact that she saved me “some” which only amounted to a little more than half a glass. Gee thanks, dear. all the characteristics one hopes to find in a champagne from the subtle citrus notes to the intense yeastiness, to the elegance and finesse. Really a fantastic wine. Excellent. 92 Points.

NV Lelarge-Pugeot Champagne Rosé Extra Brut, France: Retail $60. 100% Pinot Noir. Premier Cru. Extra Brut (2 gm). I was in Santa Rosa for a few days and picked this up at the SR institution, Bottle Barn for around $55 (I think). Quite dark for a rosé, and the nose is loaded with dark red berry fruit with a heavy dose of yeasty yumminess. This is easily in the top 5% of champagnes in terms of “bigness” that I have whiffed. The palate follows suit; quite dry with load upon load of fruit, really showcasing how powerful a Blanc de Noirs can be. For years, I have stated that I preferred my champagnes with a heavy dose of Pinot, and this confirms it. Yowza. Big, bold, and unabashed, this is not what most would think of a rosé champagne, but it certainly scratches my itch. Outstanding. 93 Points.

2020 Nalle Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, CA: At Restaurant $78. 90% Zinfandel, 7% Petite Sirah, 3% Carignane. 502 cases. It has been a while since I have tried a Nalle Zin so when I saw this on the list at Jackson’s Bar and Oven when I was in Santa Rosa for a few days, I jumped. I was a little worried about the 2020 vintage but there were no signs of smoke taint on the nose (violets, cassis, spice) or the palate (good fruit, nice acidity, balance). Honestly? I was hoping for a bit more, but this is nonetheless fantastic. Excellent. 90 Points.

1997 Domaine Rolet Côtes du Jura Tradition, Jura, France: Retail $80? 50% Chardonnay, 50% Savagnin. From magnum. I picked this up from my dear friend’s wine cellar shortly after his death, when his widow encouraged me to take at least a few bottles back home after visiting her in Paris. Shortly before his death, he had purchased several dozen magnums from Domaine Rolet, which was in the process of being sold, following the death of its patriarch. Golden, even amber in the glass with a clearly oxidized aspect in the glass. Nutty, with a hint of citrus, and that clearly sherried note on the nose. The palate is unctuous, almost to the point of giving off a desert wine vibe, but without the sweetness. Whoa. Oxidized wines are not for everyone, but if they are in your wheelhouse, this is a compelling example.
Outstanding. 94 Points.

WINE OF THE WEEK: The choice for Wine of the Week this go around was not an easy one. At all. In any other week, it is quite conceiveable that any of the wines from the week could have garnered the top spot. It was nice to “get back in touch” with Doug Nalle and every time I open an ACORN wine, I can’t help but think of Betsy and Bill. I purchased the Vouvray many years ago at the winery and both of the champagnes were delightful. But I ended up going with the 1997 Domaine Rolet Côtes du Jura Tradition for a number of reasons. First, it’s from 1997, I mean come on. Second, the Rolet family sold the winery in 2018 shortly after the patriarch, Monsieur Rolet, passed away. Third, I came into possession of the bottle once my dear friend in Paris died soon after he had purchased dozens of magnums from the Rolets. And last, it was really, really good.

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 Cabernet Franc, Carignane, Champagne, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Cinsault/Cinsaut, Dolcetto, France, Muscat, Petite Sirah, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Savagnin, Syrah, Viognier, Wine, Zinfandel. Bookmark the permalink.

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