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.
Seeing as I will be heading off to Provence for a few days on Friday, I thought it would be appropriate to drink a bit of rosé this week. It is also hot as Hades down here in Houston, so nothing says “curse the heat” like a wonderfully chilled bottle of pink. Sure, there is a Chardonnay in there as well, but cut me some slack, it is a Failla.
2015 Joseph Mellot Sancerre Rosé Vigne de la Demoiselle: Retail $25. 100% Pinot Noir. I have been to the Loire Valley dozens of times, but I have been to Sancerre precisely once, and only for a couple of hours. Perched high on a hill, Sancerre is a bit foreboding to your typical Loire Valley cyclist (which is perhaps why my bike tour company did not go there). It is, however, a picturesque French village with enough wine money flowing to make it perpetually adorable. A vibrant pink with a touch of tart cherry and abundant perfumed white flower leading to an ample fruit entrance followed by a chalky, vibrant tanginess that invites food. This stops short of a blockbuster, but it is completely delightful with a finish that causes one to beg for more. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2014 Failla Chardonnay Sonoma Coast: Retail $40. We have been big fans of Failla for years (probably close to a decade now). On one of my first visits, I met one of the nicest people I have ever met, not just in wine, but anywhere. She has sadly (for me) left Failla now, which means there is a not a compelling reason to venture over to the Silverado Trail for a visit. But Ehren Jordan’s wines are good. Really good. Really effing good. And this Chard is no exception. Normally, I hide Failla wines from my wife, trying to eek out a few more years of age to have the tannins and/or acidity mellow out a bit. So for me, this is a baby–maybe a still in the womb, third trimester kind of baby. The problem? My wife bought this while I was out gallivanting in Oregon. Thus, when she suggested we pop this tonight, there was little I could do but oblige. A bit closed up on the nose, solidifying my notion that this was infanticide, but on the palate? Holy goodness. Sure, the acidity is a bit aggressive, but everything else is in near perfect balance. I did not mention it to my wife, but this will be (even more) incredible in a couple of years. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2015 Domaines Ott By.Ott Côtes de Provence: Retail $25. 75% Grenache, 25% Cinsault and Syrah. For years I considered Domaines Ott as the best producer in Provence, if not the world (and the quality did not seem to suffer when Louis Roederer purchased the 100-year-old Domaine). There is a certain Sacha Lechine (maker of Whispering Angel among others at Château d’Esclans) who might be challenging that notion, but nonetheless, Ott still makes incredible pinks. This is a relatively new venture for Ott, with the wine being sourced from a few properties in the Côtes de Provence appellation. A slightly orange tinted pink with a closed nose, on the palate, this is a beautiful wine with subtle, soft fruit and a driving acidity. While there might be another player (or three) at the top end of the Provençal wine scene, it is clear that Ott still sets the bar rather high. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
N.V. Haton Brut Rosé Champagne: Retail $50. 35% Pinot Noir, 35% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay. I picked this up from the H.E.B. on sale for around $20, which was a complete steal. I have never visited the winery (it is in Damery, France), but I have been drinking the wines for years now and might have to make a pilgrimage one of these years. Their champagnes are not mind-blowing, but having one’s mind blown on a Wednesday night is not necessarily what one should do (at least on a regular basis). Classic red berry fruit and plenty of tartness, this is wonderful on its own, but even better with a meal. We had it with bucatini carbonara, and it worked wonderfully. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
N.V. Mumm Napa Brut Rosé: Retail $24. 80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay. As I have stated before, Mumm Napa was one of my first wine clubs (back when it was Mumm Cuvée Napa) and it still owns a soft spot in my heart. Word on the street is that it has become a bit more corporate and the tasting room experience is a bit impersonal. That could be. But. The wine is really fantastic. In fact, I dare argue that Mumm Napa has become the reference point for American sparkling and this rosé is a case in point. Great price, wonderful strawberry fruit, vibrant bubbles and tartness–it’s all there. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
WINE of the WEEK: I almost opted to not select a Wine of the Week this go around since they were all wonderful (and I was already up past 800 words for this post), but since it has been aeons since I had chosen a top wine, I decided I needed to get back on that horse, so to speak. As I mentioned, this was not an easy choice, but I am going with the 2015 Domaines Ott By.Ott. Why? Well, for one, I had no idea that this wine existed until my wife brought this home from the H.E.B. (my favorite grocery store by far in Houston). Second, it is also a fantastic wine, which we were able to buy for about $16, which was really a steal.
What was your Wine of the Week?