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).
2009 Henri Bourgeois Sancerre La Bourgeoise: Retail $35. 100% Sauvignon Blanc. I bought three of these wines back in 2010 (?) as we were passing through the region on our way down to the Dordogne Valley for a week. Oh my goodness. Pineapple and peach with off the charts minerality, this is a wine that sings from the moment the cork pops out of the bottle. The palate is simply gorgeous: subtle fruit (that tropical, tree fruit goodness), still bracing acidity, and a finish that is fruity, lengthy, and has off the charts minerality. This is amazing. Whoa. This is an excellent example of what Sauvignon Blanc can be. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
NV Mailly Champagne Grand Cru Brut Réserve: Retail $40. 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay. Wow. Looking back at my tasting notes, I can’t believe it has been close to two years since I have written a note for this wine. It is easily our “house” champagne, a favorite of both mine and my wife’s. So much so that we named our dog “Mailly” (to be precise, since she has a decided amber/liver color, we named her “Mailly Grand Cru Rosé”). Mailly Grand Cru is one of the few cooperatives left in France, let alone Champagne, which produces roughly a million bottles a year. Always rock-solid in quality, this is simply fantastic: slight golden color with citrus, pear, and freshly baked croissant. Really close to a Whoa. The palate is fruity—perhaps as rich in fruit as any NV Brut I can remember with near perfect acidity, the yeasty goodness that separates champagne from most other sparklers, and a delicate yet vibrant bubble. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
NV Moët & Chandon Champagne Nectar Imperial Rosé: Retail $55. 45% Pinot Noir, 35% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay. I like champagne. No, I love champagne. I love the obscure, small producers, and I love the large behemoths. I even like the much-maligned Veuve Clicquot. In fact, there is only one champagne that I can think of that I will refuse: Moët et Chandon Imperial Brut. There used to be another wine that Moët only released to the American market that was even worse: White Star. Both were far too sweet, lacked any real depth, and were, well, not very good at all. I am tempted to add this wine to that list. While there is a beautiful salmon color and a nice nose of red berry fruit, this is simply just too sweet and lacks the requisite acidity that is found in even average champagnes. Good, I guess. 84-86 Points.
NV Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut Rosé: Retail $60. 44 to 48% Pinot Noir, 13 to 18% Meunier, 25 to 29% Chardonnay. Here is what I wrote about the last bottle of Veuve Rosé:
Most of the disdain for the good Veuve, as far as I can tell, is reserved for what they call the “yellow label” (which I have always seen as more of an orange, for what it’s worth). Why is that? I am not entirely sure, but make no mistake, this is a solid sparkler. Darker than I remember, more of a light crimson/orange with a persistent bead, and aromas of strawberry, rhubarb, and cassis. The palate is delightfully tart and fruity, with the rhubarb really coming through. Initially, this was way too cold, but as it warmed? Wow. Fantastic. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
While most of my previous thoughts remain true, this wine is a bit lacking as compared to previous iterations. Still solid, for sure, but not as impressive as the last. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Generally speaking, any week that we pop open a bottle of champagne is better than any week that we eschew the bubbles altogether. This week, though, we managed to tear through three bottles of my preferred style of wine. In fact, it is probably more likely to have multiple bottles of champagne in any given week than it is to not have any, and that is a good thing. Thus it would make sense that the Wine of the Week would have some sparkle in it. Of the three, the Mailly Brut Réserve clearly showed the best and we always get a bit giddy when we have a bottle. This week, though, we also opened one of my three bottles of the 2009 Henri Bourgeois Sancerre La Bourgeoise, which was truly a remarkable wine and is my choice for Wine of the Week. It also reminded me how much I love Sancerre and that we need to drink a helluva lot more of it. Enough to supplant a bottle (or two) of champagne? Well….
What was your Wine of the Week?