In the past few years there's been less time and money for wine drinking, but I still get in a fair mix of things. Especially on the value end of things. Here's what I been drinkin' lately:
2002 Trimbach Pinot Blanc Alsace
I try to resist the following sort of declaration, but Pinot Blanc is boring. This bottling from Trimbach, long known for its minerally whites of all varieties, seemed like a shoe-in for Pinot Blanc of the year. 2002 saw a favorable harvest in Alsace, but Trimbach would surely produce a crisp, ripe, and lively Pinot Blanc. Unfortunately, no. The aroma is nice, with minerally seashell and ripe yellow fruit smells. But in the mouth it’s limp and dull, with fat, round, and simple flavors. Not much zip, not much length, still it’s not a bad drink. Just boring, even for $8.49.
1999 J.M. da Fonseca Periquita
The venerable Portuguese classic, no small production hand made thing but a classic and well worth the same price you probably paid for it 20 years ago. Dark ruby color. Fragrant earthy strawberry, tobacco, and balsamic aromas. There are some sweaty horse notes as well, but in a clean way if that makes sense. This is old school wine. Similar flavors, with a soft texture but unexpectedly bright tangy acid. Could it be acidified? Good enough length, this is still a deal for $5.49 but you have to dig the funk a little bit.
1996 Joseph Roty Bourgogne "Cuvee de Pressionier"
This wine comes from the Les Pressionier vineyard in the Burgundian village of Gevrey Chambertin, apparently in a section entitled to village status where the producer deems it Bourgogne. This bottling can be a nice source of inexpensive, authentic red Burgundy. Unfortunately, this bottle seems damaged somewhat, perhaps by heat but perhaps not. Some leakage is evident when I take off the foil covering. Sure enough, the cork is soaked through with wine. But neither of those things means the wine will be bad. And sure enough, the color looks nicely ruby, and the perfume is classic Burgundy, with an earthy black cherry, gravely aroma with some nicely integrated wood toast and even an ashy quality that reminds me of some Oregon pinot. Yet the wine is tart on the palate, even sour with the flavor completely stripped, but it’s not extremely dried like a heat-damaged wine. And the aroma, while not intense, is gorgeous. Hard to figure this one, but too bad and it cost $20.
2001 Evesham Wood Pinot Noir Seven Springs
Evesham Wood is a favorite producer of mine, and it is known for producing elegant, silky pinot noir that ages well and, when mature, delivers aromatically like few other Oregon pinots. Big words, I know, but that’s how I see things. Even young, the wines are attractive as they typically favor balance over youthful exuberance. As such, while I find them delicious, I can see how some people used to more powerful wines might find Evesham Wood’s a bit too lean. But I love them, and when I find them on discount I want to back up the truck. Here’s one being cleared out by the producer, who recently updated its label design and probably had too much 2001 pinot noir to begin with. Nice translucent but rich red color. Moderately fragrant cherry, cranberry, light toast, and some clean soil aromas, all seamless and elegant. Medium bodied with silky cherry and spice flavors, juicy but finishing a little lean and simple. Not a blockbuster and never will be, but pretty wine that will probably age well and might surprise with its development. Ridiculous bargain at $13.99.