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 Vicomte de Castellane Champagne Brut: Retail $45. This was the last of these bottles that I bought several years ago. Dark color and a slight sparkle, but this has that old Champers verve that I cherish. Caramel and a hint of citrus followed by early morning boulangerie goodness. I certainly did not crack this too soon. And I am very happy that I didn’t. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
NV Delavenne Pere et Fils Champagne Brut Rosé: Retail $45. This was our fourth champagne during World Champagne Weekend and while it was certainly fantastic, it could likely use more time. I hesitate to say that since it checks all of my boxes: Rosé (check), from the town of Bouzy (check), and Grand Cru (double-check). And while there were some great flavors of small red berries and a bit of brioche, it was still far too aggressive for me to place it any higher. Don’t get me wrong, it was Outstanding, but I was hoping for a bit more. 89-91 Points.
2007 Joseph Drouhin Moulin-à-Vent: Retail $25. 100% Gamay. I bought a half a case of these seven years ago, had a couple of them right away, and then forgot about them. Upon opening, there was a rather strange meatiness, to the point of being overwhelming and coming close to convincing me that there was a flaw. After a few swirls and a bit of time, that blew off, revealing raspberry, cassis and eucalyptus. There is a tiny stewed aspect, but a whole lot of what make Beaujolais great: fruit, acid, balance, and yum. Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
1999 Perrier-Jouët Champagne Cuvée Fleur de Champagne: Retail $150+. 50% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir, 5% Pinot Meunier. I have said it before, there are few bottles that I would rather open than an older bottle of champagne. Slight sigh on opening, but there was a sigh (indicating there were at least a couple of bubbles left–a good thing). Slightly golden color with a faint sparkle and caramel on the nose. On the palate some fruit and a mustiness that I love. Old Champers. Whoa. Bring it. And then bring some more. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
NV Champagne Pierre Legras Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru: Retail $50. We have had a few of these by now and there has been a bit of variation. The first bottle was stellar, the second, good, but less than mind-blowing. Well, this third bottle was back to the beginning. As I have stated before, I am not a huge Blanc de Blancs guy, but should the rest of the bottles (10 more) resemble this one, I might have to amend my opinion of the style. Croissant and lemon and great acidity. I dare say this even has some time ahead of it, but it is impressive now. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
WINE of the WEEK: I spent a lot of time trying to catch up on samples this week (I know, rough life) so we did not go through a lot of the personal stash this week. There was a rather significant “event” this past Friday, though, which caused me to dip into the collection of bubbles that we have in the cellar. That, of course, was World Champagne Day (or something along those lines), one of many such “Wine Days” that recently seem to have proliferated the calendar. My opinion on all such “days” is that we as wine drinkers have a terrible time trying to decide what to drink on any given day, and these “events” take some of the painful thinking out of the daily chore.
Or something like that.
Well, this week, World Champagne “Day” turned into my own little “Champagne Extended Weekend” and we went through a few bottles (you will notice that there was an odd Beaujolais thrown in there, which was quite good, but it sticks out more than a little, no?). The best of the lot was clearly the 1999 Perrier-Jouët Champagne Cuvée Fleur de Champagne (which is also known as the “Belle Epoque” a confusing story that was cleared up a few years ago–only the bottles intended for the American market were labeled as “Fleur de Champagne” all others were “Belle Epoque” but starting with the 2006[?] vintage, all are now labeled “Belle Epoque”). I decided, however, to opt for the NV Vicomte de Castellane Champagne Brut as this week’s Wine of the Week for three reasons. First, it was delicious. Second, it was the last of several bottles I bought some time ago. And third, ever since I have been “into” champagne, I have heard producer after producer claim that there is no value in aging Non-Vintage champagne since it will not improve at all. Well, this bottle proves that stance to be poppycock. And I like saying poppycock.
What was your Wine of the Week?