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:
1998 L. Aubry Fils Champagne Le Nombre d’Or Campanae Veteres Vites Brut: Retail $85. If you do not like old Champagne this is not for you. So if you have a bottle of this, I will gallantly take it off your hands.
A bit golden with some faint bubbles, but oh that nose. Whoa. I seem to be saying this a lot lately: this is why I love old champagne. I guess old Champers is more of an acquired taste–I have shared old champagne with a number of friends who have not been all that enthralled, so I am hesitant to break a bottle out with someone who is not clearly a fan. I understand why someone would not like it (they’re freaking bonkers), but at the same time I do not want to “waste” one of the great pleasures in life on a total whack job. Outstanding. 93-95 Points.
2014 Château d’Esclans Whispering Angel: Retail $20. Make no mistake, this is a fabulous rosé and at around $20 it is a bargain, but this bottle was ever so slightly lacking in fruit. Yes, it was crisp, yes there was a great finish, but without that tiny burst of red berry fruit upfront, I feel a bit cheated. I normally contend that a good rosé can last well past the season of its release (I have some 2012 Chinons that are still gangbusters and a 2009 Tavel that is ridiculous). This one? Not so sure… still, Very Good. 88-90 Points.
2005 Helfrich Gewurztraminer Steinklotz: Retail $25. Classic Alsatian Gewurztraminer through and through. Lychee and pineapple with a touch of sweetness, the acidity kicks in halfway and persists through the memorable and lengthy finish. This is precisely what I look for in a Gewurz: the wine is very floral and can be a bit too sharp without the right amount of sugar left in. It can also be cloying and flabby with too much sweetness. This? Like Goldilocks: just right. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2003 Hubert Lamy Saint-Aubin 1er Cru en Remilly: Retail $55. I poured and the golden color scared me. A lot. I have had a bad run of pre-mox white Burgs and I thought “here we go again…” There was some oxidation here, but it was slight. Unfortunately so was the fruit. Very Good still, but not a lot more, sadly, which means I need to drink the other two bottles soon. Anyone want to help? In the name of science, of course. Good to Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2014 Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé: Retail $25. My previous note from a few months ago: “Alright. I know. Brangelina and all that. I know. I really wanted to hate it. Really. But I can’t. Because it is good. Really good. Fruit, acidity, depth. Corny bottle, celebrity backdrop, but good wine. Wish I could hate it, but I can’t. Neither should you.”
Now? Still want to hate it. Still can’t. Still have four bottles, which makes me still happy. Just don’t tell anyone I really like it…. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2005 Mommessin Fleurie Les Roches: Retail $22. A bit animal up front with some red berry fruit behind. In fact this is down right bohemian on the nose: big and meaty. On the palate this is really intriguing. Fruit and flesh. As the bottle wore on this seemed to become richer, with the fruit coming forward and the meatiness receding a bit. A solid Beaujolais Cru, but unlike any Fleurie I have had, as they are normally, well, more floral. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
WINE of the WEEK: I could sit here and pretend that a couple of the other wines this week were in contention for WotW but we all know that would be a lie. The 2005 Helfrich Gewürztraminer Steinklotz was a treat and exactly what I always hope Gewurztraminer will be, but this was the sixth bottle I have had of this wine and the others have been less than exquisite. Then there was the 2014 Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé, but let’s get real here–the winery is owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and while I am sure they are the epitome of a loving couple and great parents, the last thing I want to give them is any more press (since no doubt they and all their fans are regular readers of my weekly round-up). No, there was never any doubt what the Wine of the Week would be from the moment that I went down into the cellar to fetch it. Another wine writer (Joe Roberts, aka 1WineDude) was over and he knows I am a bit of a Champagne hound–so I had to bring out something at least a bit memorable so I opted for the 1998 L. Aubry Fils Champagne Le Nombre d’Or Campanae Veteres Vites Brut. The memory of this wine might linger for a while as even though the sparkle was straining to remain a player, the wine was a champion. Hopefully, Joe has similar memories. That did not stop him for a heartbeat, however, to remind me on countless occasions that he was in Champagne last week on a press trip…and I wasn’t. As a result? Next time he gets André, “American Champagne”. That should be memorable, no?
What was your Wine of the Week?