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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).
2015 Couly-Dutheil Les Chanteaux: Retail $25. 100% Chenin Blanc. I love Couly-Dutheil. I really do. I know they had their issues recently but they make some of my favorite Loire Valley wines. The Clos de l’Echo is legendary and I have had wonderful bottles of this Chanteaux. But I have to ask: Why on earth do they close this fantastic white with a crappy (and that is being very kind) stopper? The cork screw is barely in when it starts to spin, indicating that the seal is no where close to tight, thus allowing oxygen to rush in. The only reason I have this wine is because I had an entire case and every bottle was badly oxidized after only a couple of years due to this same crappy “cork” and Couly-Dutheil was good enough to (eventually) replace it. But these wines also have the same crappy stopper that caused the whole mess in the first place. Ugh. Good Chenin can age beautifully for, well, decades, but I won’t make the same mistake again—I am going to quickly drink these. This wine now? Utterly fantastic. Honeyed pineapple, intense aromas, incredible mouthfeel. This wine could age for a 10 years easy. Oh wait. Not with that “cork” and that’s a shame. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2011 Cave des Producteurs de Vouvray Vouvray Pétillant De Chanceny Tête de Cuvée, Brut Excellence: Retail $25. 100% Chenin Blanc. Sadly, this is our last bottle of this fantastic sparkling Vouvray. When I first saw this in my then local state-run wine store in Philadelphia, I kind of geeked out. Not only have I visited this winery many times during my bike tour days and it figures somewhat prominently in a Ohmygod episode. Nutty, fruity, tart. Gangbusters. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2001 Nicolas Joly Vlos de la Coulée de Serrant Savennières: Retail $125. 100% Chenin Blanc. Whoa. The last bottle I had of this wine was less than stellar. I figured all of the bottles were, well, regrettable. So I ignored them. Until Today, on Chenin Blanc Day when I decided to pop another bottle. Whoa. For those not initiated to Joly’s style of Chenin, this is certainly a challenge. Oxidative, dark, lanolin. Odd by any normative standard, even crazy. Well, this is my fifth or sixth bottle of Clos de la Coulée de Serrant and this might be the most ethereal. Whoa. If you get the chance, try a bottle, release your preconceptions and embrace nirvana. Outstanding Plus. 94-96 Points.
1996 Vranken Demoiselle Tête de Cuvée Premier Cru: My wife saw this at a local wine shop for $80 and like the well-trained enabler that she is, she bought it for her obsessed husband. Yeah, she’s a keeper. Really dark in the glass–think aged Chardonnay kind of color. On the nose is an inviting crème brûlée–that tasty aroma that sugar takes on just seconds before burning. On the palate there is barely a bubble, but this is a remarkable Champagne with the (almost) burnt sugar sprinkled on a warm croissant, slightly flavored with lemon. Yum. Finish lasts for minutes. Whoa. Outstanding. 93-95 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: This was a rather good week as all the wines fell solidly into the “Outstanding” category—I am not sure when (or if) the last time that happened. It was sade to see the last of the sparkling Vouvray go from the Cave des Producteurs, but as I always say: “Better to drink it a day to early than a day too late” so it was time. The Couly-Dutheil was truly fantastic and I have several bottles left so it may still make it to Wine of the Week (WotW). There is no doubt that the ’96 Vranken was the “Find of the Week” and was a purchased by one rather smart cookie. The Wine of the Week, however, was rather easy to choose as the 2001 Nicolas Joly Vlos de la Coulée de Serrant Savennières is really a remarkable wine. As I stated in the note, Joly’s wines take a bit of attention as they are made in the oxidative style and take a bit of getting used to—but once you do, look out, you will be hooked.
What was your Wine of the Week?