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 Bonnaire Champagne Brut Rosé: Retail $55. 60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir. I bought this a while ago. A long while ago. As in 2007 ago. I bought three bottles and the first two were popped five years earlier, but this has survived. Until now. My wife wanted to watch a couple of back episodes of Grey’s Anatomy while I was hoping to watch pretty much anything else. Well, to paraphrase Napoléon Bonaparte, I needed a bit of bubbles to help soften the defeat. This was up for consumption a few days ago, and it was still in the kitchen–the perfect storm for a sacrifice. I was not disappointed. Musty and a bit oxidized, but this is the essence of aged champagne. This is not for everyone–some think champagne should be fresh and vibrant–but this is squarely in my wheelhouse and I am about to smash it out of the park….I just need to get my wife out of the stadium so there will be more for me…. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2001 Château Dauphiné-Rondillon Loupiac: From 375ml. Retail $25. 80% Sémillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc. I determined the other day that I have a bit too many dessert wines and thus grabbed this on a whim in hopes of remedying the situation. Quite dark–a deep amber, ginger ale type color, with aromas of apricot, honey, and passion fruit (?). Quite sweet on the palate with a nice tartness. This is not going anywhere soon. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
NV Gosset Champagne Grand Rosé Brut: Retail $85. 50% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Meunier. Oh I love this champagne. Melon and red berry burst out of the glass. On the palate? Wholly goodness. this is why I love Pinot dominated bubbles: rich and full with plenty of backbone, good fruit, verve, depth, and all kinds of swagger. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
NV Montaudon Champagne Grande Rosé Brut: Retail $60. 50% Pinot Noir, 50% Chardoonnay. I found this bottle doing an inventory and I had no idea how it ended up in my cellar. So I drank it. A little weak on the sparkle, but not on the flavor: strawberry and rhubarb a go-go. Tart and refreshing on the palate but lacking a bit of bubble. Still, a great effort from one of my favorite co-ops. Very Good. 88-90 Points.
2002 Montaudon Champagne Brut Millésimé: Retail $60. 54% Chardonnay, 46% Pinot Noir. I bought these a few years ago from Wine Library for $30–a bargain, for sure. Montaudon has long been one of my favorite champagnes for a couple of reasons. First, it is more of a Pinot Noir dominant wine, given it more body and oomph (putting it right in my wheelhouse). Second, it is a co-operative, which for some reason makes it more appealing. And third it is really good. Added to all of that, this is a vintage, which typically is at least a notch above the standard Brut. And it is. A golden hue with slightly oxidized biscuity goodness on the nose and on the palate? This is exactly what I hoped it would be: rich, slightly citrusy, and plenty of brioche. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2009 Tallulah Chardonnay Farina Vineyard: Retail $30. I have enjoyed Mike Drash’s Tallulah Wines for years now. While his reds tend to be a delightful cross between old and new worlds, his Chardonnays are full-blown traditional Californian: rich, opulent, buttery, and oaky. This is not a wine for the Anything But Chardonnay crowd, this is a wine for those who relish in the big, bold style that brought CA wines to prominence. If you are a fan of that style, this is a particularly good rendition. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
WINE of the WEEK: As you no doubt can tell, I went on a bit of a champagne binge this week. There are several reasons for that. First, as I have mentioned before, I am moving this summer to Texas and I am trying to thin out the cellar a bit. Thus, I have been trying to get to the bottles that I thought might be on the downward slope as I see no need to transport those to the swamps of Houston. Second, we had a good friend visiting from France, and she is a bit of a rosé champagne hound. Generally speaking, I do not need a ton of encouragement to break out some Champers. Third, I love champagne. I think I do not need to expand on that at all.
Choosing a wine of the week from the quartet is a bit more difficult, however. Three of the four were rosés, all of which were made by blending in a bit of still red wine (usually around 10%) before the secondary fermentation. This extra boost of Pinot Noir usually adds a bit of body and heft, thus aligning the champagne more closely along my personal preferences. All four champagnes were stellar, but I opted for the NV Montaudon Champagne Grande Rosé Brut as wine of the week for two additional reasons. First, it was a “free” bottle–I had discovered the wine in my cellar as I was doing inventory. Second, we shared it with a dear friend who we see far too infrequently these days and will see even less once we move to Texas and they move to South Carolina.
What was your Wine of the Week?