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).
2006 Brewer-Clifton Pinot Noir Cargasacchi Vineyard: Retail $55. 100% Pinot Noir. We opened this with some microwave popcorn and the latest episode of This is Us. While I am not sure how I feel about letting the world know that I watch the series, this wine was nothing less than gangbusters. Light but a bit cloudy in the glass, with black cherry, earth, and cassis on the nose, this is simply stellar. Subtle yet tasty fruit, an earthiness on the mid-palate that defies most American Pinots, and a finish that is simply remarkable. I have had a few wines from Brewer-Clifton and this wine underscores the need for more. Bravo. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2006 Château Carbonnieux Blanc: Retail $40. 70% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Sémillon. I bought these several years ago from Last Bottle and I really forgot about them until today. I went into my cellar looking for an older rosé and three bottles of this wine were just a slot above, so I passed over the rosé and grabbed one of these. Dark in the bottle and in the glass, with a bit of oxidation on the nose, but also some citrus, honey, and white acacia flower. On the first sip, I was worried as the oxidation was the primary note. The second sip, though, was a different animal entirely. Caramel and lemon, a bit of minerality, and off the charts acidity. Without a doubt, this was much brighter and cleaner upon release, but today? This is a special wine, a wine that requires more than a tad of understanding–this is an aged white Bordeaux that likely is without peer: honeyed, bright, introspective, intense, incredible. OK, whoa. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
NV Gallimard Père et Fils Champagne Cuvée Réserve Brut: Retail $35. 100% Pinot Noir. OK, I can get used to this. Another fantastic bottle of this wine after the first couple that were, well, lackluster. Is it a simple case of bottle variation? Or perhaps the benefit of a little more time in the bottle? Who knows? Bright, fruity, and verve-y (I know that is not a word, but I am going with it), with tons of citrusy fruit, some minerality, and plenty of baked bread/brioche elements. Very nice. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2016 Petite Moulin Bandol Les Galets Rosés: Retail $25. I tried. I did. But finding the varietal breakdown of this wine that I picked up from my favorite online retailer, Last Bottle, was not in the offing. It is safe to say that Mourvèdre constitutes the bulk of this blend (since that is required in the appellation), but beyond that? I got nothing. While the first couple of bottles I tried several months ago were quite nice, the wine seems to have advanced a bit and is certainly into the “Outstanding” category. More fruit, more acidity, more verve than the last couple of bottles, this really is a stellar rosé and worth the $16 tariff from Last Bottle. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
NV Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Extra Dry: Retail $40. 50-55% Pinot Noir, 30-35% Pinot Meunier, 15-20% Chardonnay. When I started getting into champagne appreciation a few decades ago (has it been that long?), my first introduction to Piper-Heidsieck was a tasting at my local Beverages & More led by none other than Wilfred Wong. That Piper was the Extra Dry, which, as aficionados of the bubbly elixir know very well, is slightly sweeter than the standard Brut. At the time, I found the added sugar to nicely balance the characteristic acidity that defines the wine. Now, my tastes have turned more toward the drier styles, but this champagne reminds me of those times so many years ago. So when I saw this on sale at my local H.E.B. grocery store, I had to grab a few bottles. A bit darker than most champagnes, with brioche and baked apple, far from “sweet” on the palate, but certainly softer than the standard Brut. Good fruit and depth, and full of memories. At least for me. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: I have a problem. Actually, I have a bunch of problems, but one of them is certainly that I tend to collect things. As a kid I collected stamps and baseball cards (both of those collections were summarily “lost” by my mother after I went off to college–I shudder to think how much they might be worth today). These days, I seem to be collecting bicycles (most cyclists out there, when asked how many bikes one person actually needs, would respond “One more than I have.”), baseball caps for some strange reason, and, of course, wine. I have been collecting wine for a while, but since I have started writing this blog, my consumption of those wines that I have purchased over the years keeps diminishing as more samples appear on my doorstep. Thus, a few more years have been added onto those wines than might otherwise have occurred. As a result, when I do go into the personal cellar for a bottle to have with dinner, there are plenty of fully mature wines from which to choose. That was the case this week, as the two top choices for Wine of the Week were both over a decade old and had evolved into fantastic expressions of their respective styles. The Château Carbonnieux was sublime and has me excited about the other two bottles still resting in the cellar. The Wine of the Week, though, was the 2006 Brewer-Clifton Pinot Noir Cargasacchi Vineyard, a wonderful wine from one of my favorite producers (recently sold to Kendall-Jackson).
What was your Wine of the Week?