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 Herbert Beaufort Champagne Grand Cru Carte d’Or Tradition Brut: Retail $65. 90% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay. Beaufort? Bouzy? You bet. I have been a fan of the champagnes from Bouzy (one of the 17 Grand Cru villages in Champagne) since my first trip there in the mid-90’s. And Herbert Beaufort’s wines have always delivered. Great nose with plenty of swagger. Really vibrant sparkle with incredible acidity, this wine is “redonculous.” It might actually need some time still to calm down a bit, but this is gangbusters. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2009 Aldrich Browne Syrah Mariah Vineyard: Retail $30. I have already had a couple of bottles of this but I did not really pay that much attention to those earlier bottles. This time I did, luckily. Good fruit, but not too much, good depth, but not quite enough, and a solid finish…. In the end? I like. Very Good. 88-90 Points.
2006 Dutton-Goldfield Pinot Noir Dutton Ranch: Retail $50. The wine is showing its age a bit, but plenty of black-cherry and earth. Perhaps it was yet another painful episode of watching Grey’s Anatomy with my wife that clouded my judgment (I really don’t like the show, but my wife does and since I may still be in the running for husband of the year, I suffer through it), but initially, in the glass, this was a bit devoid of character. Nonetheless, I jumped into this bottle with reckless abandon, hoping to escape my plight. And the wine obliged. By the end of the bottle, this was really singing and I was able to casually ignore the television and actually enjoy myself. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
NV Champagne Pierre Legras Champagne Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs: Retail $45. 100% Chardonnay. I still can’t believe this is a Blanc de Blancs. Creamy, rich, and deep. I know it is a non-vintage, but this might get a whoa. It also came at the end of one of the longest weeks and weekends in my life. Can you say “context”? I can say Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2011 Cave des Producteurs de Vouvray Pétillant De Chanceny Tête de Cuvée, Brut Excellence: Retail $30. I bought a ton of these and I have been sitting on the last few bottles, not wanting them to disappear. I was not entirely sure for what I was waiting, but this bottle, like the others, was fantastic. Tropical and nutty aromas elevate above the vibrant sparkle, which continue on through to the finish. This is a wonderful bottle of bubbles, I only wish I had bought more. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2005 Fess Parker Syrah American Tradition Reserve: Retail $45. Big. Whoa big. Try 16.5% big. Ripe black raspberry and vanilla with quite a bit of heat (did I mention 16.5?). Big, super rich, big, mocha, and big. While I normally eschew big, I still dig this wine. Even though it’s big (did I mention that?). Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
WINES of the WEEK: This week was a crazy one in the D.C. household. We put our house on the market, had an open house, several other showings, and got a couple of offers. I was also up in New York for a good part of the week and then there was the boys’ Little League teams. Even with all of the running around, I still found time to open a few nice bottles that I have had for a while down in the cellar. I bought the Dutton-Goldfield Pinot and the Fess Parker Syrah within a few months of each other eight years ago and this was the last bottle of each that we popped this week. Both have held up fairly well though it seems they might have peaked and are slowly making their way back down. I am also nearing the end of the couple of cases of the sparkling Vouvray that I purchased a few years ago, and I really will rue the day that I pop the last one as this is easily one of the best sparklers from the Loire that I have had. The top honors this week, though, go to the two bottles of champagne that we popped in celebration of our house going on the market and the relatively quick offers that followed. I did not break out the big guns as the sale is not final yet, but both my wife and I agreed that some bubbly was in order. As I mentioned in the note, I really can’t believe that the Pierre Legras Champagne Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs is 100% Chard as it exhibits much more backbone and depth than do most non-vintage Blanc de Blancs. The Herbert Beaufort Champagne Grand Cru Carte d’Or Tradition Brut, however, shows exactly what you would expect from a Bouzy Grand Cru: plenty of structure, depth, and chutzpah that reinforces why I covet wines from that town.
What was your Wine of the Week?