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. These are wines that were not sent as samples—in most cases, I actually paid for these wines (although a few have been given as gifts).
2012 Couly-Dutheil Chinon Rosé Domaine René Couly: Retail $20. 100% Cabernet Franc. I have a thing for “dedicated” rosés (wines that were intended to be pink). I feel that not only are they better wines, but they are wines that can also age well, at least for a few years. This is a good example. Sure, the fruit has faded slightly, but there are some secondary flavors–it’s a little earthy with a touch of menthol–that prove my point about this style of rosé (at least to me). Take my advice, but a “dedicated rosé” and hold onto it for a couple of years. I will reimburse you if you feel I am wrong. Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2007 Domaine Fontaine du Clos Vacqueyras Château Font Clos: Retail $25. 75% Grenache, 25% Syrah. I have not spent a ton of time in the Southern Rhône, but the time that I have spent there has been fabulous. The town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a must for any wine lover and Gigondas might be one of my favorite villages in all of France. Vacqueyras? Well, I drove by, but never went into the town. Why? Well, even the locals told me that the town is rather boring and bland—a distant cousin to its aforementioned neighbors. It seems as though the view of the wine suffers a similar fate with most considering CdP the king of the region and Gigondas a not-so-close second. Vacqueyras Lucky to be mentioned by most. Well, if this wine is any indication, the town will be inscribed in stone on my tablet of must sees the next time I am in the region. Dark and unctuous, there is still big fruit here a decade out: cassis, anise, blackberry jam. On the palate, much of the same as this has a rich, thick viscosity that instantly coats the mouth. No, it is not the best wine from the region, but sometimes those second (and third) cousins need some loving too. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
NV Gardet Champagne Brut Premier Cru: Retail $45. 60% Pinot Meunier, 40% Pinot Noir. I had one of those days: I did not get all the work done that I need to do; I went for a bike ride, flatted, and had to get an Uber ride home; I went to my son’s basketball game and realized he really is a horrible athlete (and tried to convince myself that is OK). So when my wife called to say she was bringing home pizza and thus shattering any hope of losing a bit more weight this week, I needed a pick-me-up. What says “lift your spirits little buckeroo!” more than a bottle of champagne? Nothing in my book (at least nothing I can write here). I bought a bunch of this from my good friends at LastBottle.com and it has been well worth it. Citrus dominates in the glass, but there is that lovely baked bread and slightly nutty characteristic on the palate. Yum. After the day that I have had? Yum^2.. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
NV Mailly Champagne Grand Cru Demi-Sec: Retail $45. 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay. I brought these back from the winery way back in 2007. Yeah, I waited too long. Certainly golden in the glass, on the verge of amber, even. Caramelized, even oxidized notes predominate—yeah, I waited too long. The sweetness is clearly evident, so much so that I would classify this as one of the sweeter demi-secs in memory. Still, this is Mailly, one of my all-time favorites, and it harkens back to the time that I have spent riding my bike to the winery, tasting through their wonderful wines. And that means something. Not Rated.
WINE OF THE WEEK: This week, there were three solid wines and one that was a bit of a stinker. The NV Gardet Champagne was precisely what I thought it would be and I was pleasantly surprised by both the 2012 Couly-Dutheil Rosé and the 2007 Vacqueyras (although I certainly planned on them both being fairly good). In such a limited week, any of the three would be worthy of the WotW, but instead, I am opting for the NV Mailly Champagne Grand Cru Demi-Sec—a wine that went unrated since, well, it was a disappointment (and I likely just held on to it for too long). Why? Well, as I have stated here a number of times, wine appreciation is as much about context as it is anything else, and the story behind this wine is rather compelling. It comes from one of my favorite champagne houses, one that good friends suggested while I was leading bike tours in France. We have fallen out of touch with those friends, sadly, and opening this wine reminded us that we should look to rekindling that friendship. Also, it was one of the bottles strapped to the bicycle at the top of this page.
What was your Wine of the Week?