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).
This past week I was out in Walla Walla for a wonderful few days with the Walla Walla Wine Alliance, but I stayed in Houston just long enough for my wife’s “significant” birthday. We opened several “good” bottles of her favorite: champagne.
NV Mailly Grand Cru Extra Brut: Retail $50. 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay. This was a gift from some great friends and while we usually wait to drink gifted wine with the bestower, but it is doubtful they will ever step foot in Houston. Just hints of golden notes in an otherwise straw-hued wine with plenty of hawthorn, freshly baked baguette, almond, and a touch of citrus on the nose. Fantastically dry with that citrus and some hazelnut initially followed by that freshly baked bread that sets champagne apart in my view. Finish lasts for minutes. This might be the “perfect” pairing for fresh oysters. Ok. Whoa. Outstanding. 93-95 Points.
NV Mailly Grand Cru Brut Rosé: Retail $65. 90% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay. It was my wife’s “significant” birthday and she wanted some Mailly Grand Cru, the maker of her favorite champagne. She likes the brand smooch, in fact, that we named our labradoodle “Mailly” (her full name is “Mailly Grand Cru Brut Rosé” if you want me to be precise). Strawberry, raspberry, and caramel with brioche dance on the nose, carried by particularly fine bubbles. On the palate, quite fruity under the vibrant sparkle with an elegant tartness and a lengthy finish. Close to a Whoa. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2009 Mailly Grand Cru Millésime: Retail $70. 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay. This seemed like the obvious progression after the first two bottles and it paired magically with the shrimp and lobster ravioli that I made from scratch. Golden in the glass with ripe red fruit, tangerine, pear, and freshly baked croissant. The palate? Whoa. Bright, intense sparkle, citrus, yeast, all carried by the particularly fine sparkle that seemed to want to dance on the tongue for minutes. Whoa. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2000 Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Brut Premier Cru Gastronome: Retail $125. 100% Chardonnay. We were not quite done with the bubbles and so I pulled this wine that I had been cellaring for quite some time. I am not usually a fan of the Blanc de Blancs style as I usually prefer quite a bit of Pinot Noir in the blend, which adds backbone and verve, typically. The exception is when said Blanc de Blancs is a vintage, and particularly when it has a bit of age on it: check and check. Rich but also elegant, with citrus, yeast, verve. On the palate? A “holy cow,” a “yowza,” and, yes, a “whoa.” Rich, extravagant, refined. Whoa. I taste a ton of bubbles and this is remarkable. Outstanding Plus. 94-96 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Last week in this space I marveled at the fact that it had been a while since there had been a week with two wines that achieved the somewhat amorphous “Whoa” designation. Well, this week there were a solid three that achieved that plateau (and a fourth was not far behind). While it would certainly be justified if I were to chose the 2009 Mailly Grand Cru Millésime for this week’s Wine of the Week (WotW), but I have a few bottles of this wine and it simply could use a bit more time. Then there was the NV Mailly Grand Cru Extra Brut, which was also phenomenal, and drinking beautifully. I realized as soon as the first sip that I need to seek more lower dosage champagnes—those that have less sugar added to the final blend—they are popular among the sommelier crowd for good reason: they are great with food. While I really wanted a Mailly Grand Cru Champagne to take the WotW this week, I had to stick to my palate and select the 2000 Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Brut Premier Cru Gastronome, which, despite its Chardonnay bent, really was magnificent.
What was your Wine of the Week?