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).
2004 Domaine / Maison Vincent Girardin Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru: Retail $120. 100% Chardonnay. I popped this the night after returning from Burgundy for a couple of reasons: first, I wanted to somehow extend my trip to one of my favorite spots on the planet. Second, I wanted my wife to taste the only White Burgundy Grand Cru that we will likely ever be able to afford. And 3. I was worried, as with so many white Burgs I have tried recently, this, too, would be oxidized beyond the spectrum of discernible characteristics. Score on all three. This took me back to the view of the Corton vineyards I saw frequently on the trip, my wife loved it, and although golden, far from oxidized. Whoa. The nose is a bit subdued, with subtle tropical notes, a bit of butter, and a hint of a meatiness that is rare in whites. On the palate? Whoa. Weighty and viscous with fruit at the onset, followed by a rush of acidity and considerable depth, leading to a lengthy, mineral finish. Whoa. Outstanding. 93-95 Points.
NV Gruet Winery Brut Blanc de Noirs, New Mexico: Retail $15. 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay. I have said this before, but it bears repeating: this might be the single best value in sparkling wine on the market today. I paid a total of $10.03 for this (including tax), and that makes this gangbusters in my book. I do have a problem with the wine, though: how can they call this a “Blanc de Noirs” when it has 25% Chardonnay (“Blanc de Noirs” means a white wine made from black grapes)? Nonetheless, this tastes like a wine twice the price: lemony, yeasty, with a vibrant bubble. We always have six of these in reserve for that mid-week bubble fix. I think I am going to need to up that to a dozen. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2008 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Cargasacchi Vineyard: Retail $50. I have mentioned before that most see Loring wines as those that should be consumed young (including Brian Loring himself). I, on the other hand, have held on to quite a few of his wines, with the expectation that the fruit would eventually die down a bit and reveal the balance that I know must be there. Well, call me a genius. Nearly a decade out, this still has loads of black cherry fruit, but there is also some depth and intrigue. Still a “big” Pinot lover’s kind of wine, but more mature and restrained. Think thirty something instead of high school sophomore. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2002 Domaine Pavelot (Jean-Marc et Hugues) Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru Les Peuillets: Retail $55. 100% Pinot Noir. I have to say this is fairly dark as wines from the Côte de Beaune go and the nose is equally as brooding with black raspberry, a bit of cassis, and even some pine tar. On the palate it is more of the same with dark berry fruit, a bit of menthol, and a touch of earth. I have to say this is not what I expected from a decade and a half old Burg, particularly from Savigny, but it works. I would hazard to say this is much more new than old world, but delightful nonetheless. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2004 Paul Pillot Saint-Aubin 1er Cru Le Charmois: Retail $65. 100% Chardonnay. What to think? Well, it is clear that the adage “there are no good wines, only good bottles” is accurate. I bought four bottles of this wine in France several years ago and the first bottle was phenomenal. A few years after that first one, the second bottle was decidedly less so, and while this latest go-around lies between the first two, it is decidedly much closer to the first experience. A bit golden in color and slightly muted on the nose, but delicious fruit (lemon curd) and fantastic secondary flavors (vanilla, cream, and the right amount of oak). I have one more bottle to go and I have my fingers crossed. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Clearly my recent trip to Burgundy had an enormous effect on my wine choices this week, as three of the five listed here came from that 60 kilometer stretch of vinous perfection called the Côte d’Or (trivia: although many translate it to “the Golden Slope” it is actually an abbreviation of Côte d’Orient or “eastern slope”). I initially was going to give the Wine of the Week to the NV Gruet Blanc de Noirs, but I still can’t get over that there is a considerable amount of Chardonnay in the wine. The 2008 Loring Cargasacchi was sublime, but it suffered from being consumed in the same week that I pulled out three oldish Burgs, with two of them being white. The 2002 Pavelot Savigny-lès-Beaune was a pleasant surprise on many different levels and the Pillot Saint-Aubin was delightful even though it may have slipped a bit. In the end, I had to go with the 2004 Domaine / Maison Vincent Girardin Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. I mean it was a white Grand Cru Burgundy. If I have to explain what that means, well, I guess either you have not been paying attention or I am failing at my job.
What was your Wine of the Week?