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).
NV L. Aubry Fils Champagne Premier Cru Brut: Retail: $50. 45% Pinot Meunier, 25% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay and 5% Arbanne, (Pinot Gris). 50% comes from the 2015 vintage, and 50% from a “perpetual reserve” (solar) that dates from 1998. We picked up a few of these from our local Costco where they were $33/bottle. I should have bought more. Citrusy and yeasty with a bit of color and a fine bead. The palate is equally enticing with more than ample acidity, a freshly baked bread note, and a bit of pear. This is a classic Premier Cru from a respected house and has three of the rare varieties still allowed in Champagne. What else could one want? Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2007 Skewis Pinot Noir Montgomery Vineyard, Sonoma County, CA: Retail $55. It has been nearly a year and a half since I have tried this wine, and, well, my opinion has not varied all that much. The nose is replete with Bing cherry, a touch of cigar smoke, and loads of eucalyptus. The palate is simply delightful, even a decade out: fresh fruit, touches of earth, and a tartness that continues from the first sip through the lingering finish. I am a big fan of Hank and Maggie Skewis and this is why. Excellent to Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
NV Gallimard Père et Fils Champagne Cuvée Réserve Brut: Retail $45. 100% Pinot Noir. Located in Les Riceys, in the southern Aube region of Champagne, this has turned out to be one of our favorite champagnes: bright, clean, vivacious. So, when the wine came up again on Last Bottle, I leapt and bought another six bottles. Dumb move: I should have bought a case. Bright and citrusy, with just a hint of yeastiness. Wonderful. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
2009 Morlet Family Vineyards Chardonnay Ma Princesse: Retail $85. I first visited Morlet shortly after they opened when Luc Morlet was making his wines at Château Boswell in Napa Valley. That first meeting, Luc climbed in and out of the barrels, pulling samples, and even making ad hoc blends in my glass. Whoa. I bought a few bottles that day as my wife was desperately texting me, attempting to discern my location (Luc and I were deep in the bowels of Boswell, cell phone reception be damned). Eventually, my wife and I reconnected, much to my chagrin as she was not happy. But I was. I had one of the better tastings of my life, and walked away with a few purchased bottles of Ma Princesse. Slightly dark in the glass with a lemon curd, vanilla goodness that would likely blow even the most stable of minds. The palate is equally delightful: great fruit, tartness, complexity. This gets a Whoa. Hands down. Excellent to Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
NV Salmon Champagne Montgolfière: Retail $50. 50% Pinot Meunier, 25% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay. I bought this a couple of years ago from Last Bottle, and it has been a solid wine–nothing earth-shattering, or even mind-blowing, but this falls into the “great everyday champers” ( although I am not sure that is a real category). A bit of citrus and plenty of brioche on the nose, while quite tart on the palate. There are also those baked-goods aspects, which are nothing short of yummy. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: This week, as with most weeks, we put away a few bottles of excellent champagne. The Salmon Montgolfière was solid as always (so much so that I just ordered another half of a case from Last Bottle), and both the Gallimard Cuvée Réserve and the Aubry Premier Cru were fantastic–two frequent producers in our monthly rotation. This week, though, came down to two still wines for Wine of the Week. The first, the 2007 Skewis Montgomery was delightful and brought back memories of the times that I spent tasting wine with Maggie and Hank as well as a bit of sadness knowing that the two have retired and there will never be a new vintage from them. The other was the 2009 Morlet Ma Princesse, which also evoked the recollection of a wonderful afternoon in the bowels of Château Boswell in Napa. In the end, knowing I could not go wrong in either direction, I opted for the 2009 Morlet Family Vineyards Chardonnay Ma Princesse. Why? Good question. Sometimes in life you just need to flip a coin, I guess.
What was your Wine of the Week?