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:
NV Champagne Pierre Legras Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru: Retail $65. Just about everyone that I know realizes that I am a bit of a champagne slut–I love the stuff from the most basic all the way up to the pinnacle. That is not to say that I love all Champers equally and unequivocally. Blanc de Blancs (BdB) is a case in point. Generally speaking, a BdB needs to be well made and have a good bit of age on it before I can jump on board (yes, that is extremely pretentious). BdB tend to be overly bright and lemony, but with time, it calms the heck down and starts to shine. This wine? Well, either it needs more time (likely) or just proves that BdB is not for me: Bright and vibrant, but not much else–no yeastiness, not much complexity. Still Very Good (I mean it still is champagne), but…. 87-89 Points.
2007 Ferrari-Carano Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley: Retail $35. A bit too candied for me–despite being eight years old, there is still a ton of candied fruit on the nose and on the palate. After a bit of time, the fruit clams down a bit, but it is still a bit over-extracted. It is better on the palate and with some air. There is still a bit of tannin on the back, which is perhaps encouraging, but I would advise to drink this in the near term. Reading back over this note, I realize that I was a bit harsh for a wine that I actually liked. Maybe it was because my team was losing…. Very Good. 88-90 Points.
2012 Gruet Winery Grand Blanc de Noirs Limited Release (New Mexico): Retail $30. Imagine a bad day. Not the worst day you have ever had, but just your run of the mill “bad day.” Undoubtedly, at some point during that day, there was a point that was actually good, or at least “not so bad.” Even if you do not believe me, it has to be true, almost by definition. Well, this bottle for me was certainly that bright spot. I had gained three pounds, watched my football team get embarrassed, and hurt my arm playing catch with my son. This wine? Stellar. Citrus and baked bread with good acidity and a lingering finish. It made me forget about my crappy day. Almost. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2012 Michel-Schlumberger Bienvenue Chardonnay: Retail $30. A bit of oak and some butter but by no means excessive. On the palate? Completely different. Balanced and fun but short of intriguing. Very Good, but was hoping for more. 87-89 Points.
2014 Joseph Mellot Sancerre La Demoiselle Rosé: Retail $25. Dry rosé is certainly one of those hot wine styles these days, and this is perhaps why. Sancerre rosé (100% Pinot Noir) is one of life’s great pleasures; there is subtle fruit and plenty of vibrancy. The new world versions tend to be juicier and lush, but those wines could learn a lot from this one. Sometimes it is not only about the fruit. Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2009 Rued Winery Zinfandel: Retail $30. The demise of this wine was greatly exaggerated (by me). In my last note, I suggested that this wine may have peaked. Wrong. Although there is a bit of heat on the nose (to go along with the ample dark berry fruit and subtle forest floor), that does not come through at all on the palate: really juicy, but in a demure way (if that’s possible), and really great balance. This is the type of Zin that I love–great fruit, but in its place, not trying to smash you over the head with it. Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
WINE of the WEEK: This week, the Wine of the Week came down to just two contenders: the 2009 Rued Winery Zinfandel and the 2012 Gruet Winery Grand Blanc de Noirs Limited Release, both solid wines and worthy of WotW honors. But, looking back over the week, I really did not pull out any heavy hitters that would have perhaps jumped to the top of the list. Why? Well, my wife has been out of town all this week and she gets rather upset when I drink a really nice bottle without her. Come to think about it, she also gets rather upset when I buy rather nice bottles of wine. Despite being one of the smartest people I know, it does not seem as though that she has realized that in order to drink nice bottles of wine on occasion, one needs to buy nice bottles of wine on occasion. Perhaps that is a topic for a rant one of these days…. As for the Wine of the Week? I settled on the 2012 Gruet Blanc de Noirs. As I mentioned above, I do not particularly “go” for the Blanc de Blancs style, but Blanc de Noirs (only made from “black” or red grapes)? You bet, and twice on Sundays, which was when I had this, knowing that my wife would be only slightly irked.
What was your Wine of the Week?