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).
NV Bollinger Champagne Special Cuvée Brut: Retail $60. 60% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Meunier. Over 85% Grands and Premiers crus. We’ve had this for about a decade (since 2007) but I love to hang on to quality NV Champers for a while as it adds some complexity with a sherried aspect that is just gangbusters. Don’t listen to those clowns that say that NV champagne doesn’t improve in the bottle, they are just flat-out wrong (and yes, I know that is exactly what the champagne producers profess, but they are also looking to sell you more wine). Big brioche plenty of yeast, but still great citrus. Whoa. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
NV André Clouet Champagne Brut Rosé: Retail $65. 100% Pinot Noir. Bouzy? (My favorite town for champagne) Grand Cru? (The top rated vineyards in Champagne) 100% Pinot? (My preference in champagnes) Rosé? (My preferred style) Grand Slam. A bit darker than most Rosé Champers, this has Rich red fruit, verve, and plenty of yeastiness. This is the producer that sold me on Bouzy. Close to a Whoa. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
NV Jean-Noël Haton Champagne Brut Rosé: Retail $50. 35% Pinot Meunier, 35% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay. Picked these up at the HEB for about $20 on sale. Steal. Period. Yeasty and toasty with a touch of red berry fruit, there is a bit of funk and plenty of verve on the palate. Nice. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
2007 Jackson-Triggs Vidal Icewine Proprietors’ Reserve Niagara Peninsula VQA: Retail $20 for 187ml. We had our neighbors over and I pulled this out at the last minute, telling them that I really had no idea where I got it. To which they responded: “We gave it to you—we bought it in London and brought it over here the first time we visited.” Yes, I felt like a tool. The wine? Really dark. Almost Port dark. Certainly Sherry or Madeira dark. Candied baked apple, honey, and nutmeg(?). On the palate really fantastic: great body and carmalized fruit with acidity that is through the roof. Excellent. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2008 Freeman Pinot Noir Russian River Valley: Retail $45. Even though this is nearly a decade old, there are still aromas of fresh raspberry and black cherry fruit with a bit of forest floor. On the palate? Holy goodness. Rich, but restrained. Fruity but balanced. This tastes like a new release, not a nine-year old wine. I recently went for a bike ride with Ken Freeman and he said I could come back at any time. I will certainly determine whether he meant it. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2003 Cosentino Winery M. Coz Meritage Red: Retail $120. Red Bordeaux Blend. I decided to open this after a fairly big and complex Malbec, which was not the best decision I have ever made. After the first sip, though, this wine took over. Not in a boisterous, “Look at me!” way, but rather, a more nuanced “psst…you might want to pay attention here.” Blackberry, dried pine needles, tobacco, and ripe plum. Wowza. I have written endlessly about my fondness for the “original” iteration of Cosentino Winery (and my utter disdain for the current) and this is the perfect example why: finesse, strength, verve, sensuality. All in there. Bravo Mitch. Whoa. Outstanding. 93-95 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: I know I usually say that it was not easy picking the Wine of the Week and most of the time that is hyperbole—usually the WotW picks itself in many ways. Well, this week truly was difficult to pick a wine that stood out above all others. Both the Bollinger and Clouët champagnes were spectacular but I am sure I will revisit both sooner rather than later. The M. Coz was ethereal and by all accounts should be the wine that stood out above all others, but I have two more bottles in the cellar and I am sure those bottles will be in contention whenever we get around to popping those corks. The Jackson-Triggs Icewine was fantastic, but it was only a 187ml bottle and I just can’t give the honor to a bottle that was basically empty before I opened it. No, this week, I opted for the 2008 Freeman Pinot Noir Russian River Valley for a couple of reasons: it was spectacular, it was my only bottle of the wine, I recently went riding with the owner, Ken Freeman, and it was the only bottle this week of which I happened to take a photo.
What was your Wine of the Week?