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).
2014 Acquiesce Grenache Rosé Lodi: Retail $25. All wine evolves in the bottle to some degree. Some wines improve and others devolve. While it is fairly difficult to precisely determine which wines will improve and to what degree over time, it is generally accepted that rosé wines should not be held–they should be consumed early, within a year (or maybe two) after the vintage date. So, given the added age of this bottle, I was curious to see where it was. While the fruit has certainly changed (more cranberry and bruised strawberry), and the flavors are certainly subtle, they are all there as is the acidity and body. Sure it’s different, but plenty tasty. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
2015 Château des Sarrins Côtes de Provence Rosé: Retail $25. Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Rolle. Pale salmon to a faint pink, this wine, even a few years out, has a very perfumed nose. Red rose, ripe strawberry, and tart cherry up front, with heightened acidity, subtle red berry fruit, and more than a touch of dusty minerals. This rosé is a couple of years past its release, but it is gangbusters. From the Bruno Paillard family, this wine is all Provence. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2005 Domaine Rolet Arbois Vin de Paille: Retail $25. From 375ml. 40% Chardonnay, 40% Savagnin, 20% Poulsard. It has been a while since I have pulled a cork on one of these half bottles. Looking over my last note from nearly two years ago, I am still in love with this wine, but perhaps with not quite as much fervor. Don’t get me wrong, this puppy is smoking. OK, maybe I should say: “This slightly older puppy is smoking.” Quite dark in the glass, almost whisky like, with oxidized notes both of which caused me to fear that I had waited too long. On the palate, no need for that worry: nutty, caramel, smoky, cinnamon (in declining intensities)–really fabulous acidity and just the right amount of sweetness. This is sweet, but far from unctuous. Clearly a dessert wine, but a fabulous sipper with the evening news. And a Whoa. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
NV Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut: Retail $45. 50 to 55% Pinot Noir, 15 to 20% Pinot Meunier and 28 to 33% Chardonnay. The Veuve gets a bad rap. I am not sure why, perhaps due to its popularity with the millennial crowd. Maybe its due to the success of the brand (which is no doubt tied to the millennials) or the fact that it is owned by one of the largest alcohol consortiums on the planet. Whatever the reason, there are a ton of haters of the Veuve out there. I am here to decry that they are all wrong. Veuve Clicquot Brut is not the best of its kind. It’s not the best champagne at its price point. ln fact, I have had bubbles at a fraction of its price that are “better” (noting, of course, that is a subjective determination). Nonetheless, Veuve is Good. Even Very Good, and maybe more. Fruit, brioche, tartness. Yeah, get over your hatred for the Veuve, she is a fine, upstanding woman. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: In this spot, I normally lament either how difficult or how easy it was to choose the Wine of the Week. While this week was clearly more the latter than the former, all of the wines were worthy of mention. I know that Veuve Clicquot is far from a “special” champagne. I am also keenly aware of the argument that the wine relies more on its marketing than it does on what is actually in the bottle to encourage sales. And yes, there are “better” champagnes on the market for less money. But none of those points means that the Veuve is not good. It is. The two rosés this week obviously share the fact that they were consumed at least a couple of years past the point when most wine drinkers would have consumed them. As I mentioned in the notes above, some rosés, particularly those that were made intentionally, what I call “True Rosés” (i.e., not made using the saignée method) can and will age gracefully (if you let them). This week’s Wine of the Week, though, is the 2005 Domaine Rolet Arbois Vin de Paille, which while it is almost clearly on the downward slope, it still has an incredibly long way to go.
What was your Wine of the Week?