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).
2015 Domaine Besson Chablis 1er Cru Montmains: Retail $35. 100% Chardonnay. I picked these up from Last Bottle even though I had sworn off Burgundy for all the premature oxidation issues I have encountered. But I figured that popping this early (relatively) would avoid all that (and the issue has been far less prevalent in Chablis, for whatever reason). Dark in the glass. Ruh roh, here we go again. My wife tried to convince me that it was more “golden.” Uh huh. Happily, a surprise: a tropical nose of guava and pineapple. Subtle fruit on the palate, great tartness, admirable finish. Nice. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
NV Antoine Derigny Champagne Grand Cru Brut: Retail $50. 100% Chardonnay. We were heading off to Orlando for five, yes five days at Universal Studios, so I knew I was going to need some wine. Lots and lots of wine. I saved this bottle of bubbles for the last night and it did not disappoint. Pear fruit and brioche-like goodness proceeded the tart, fruity, and yeasty palate. Plenty of depth, and a lengthy finish. If each of the five nights had been close to this one, our stay at the park might not have been so bad. OK. I lied. It was as awful as you imagine it might be. Excellent to Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2006 Failla Pinot Noir Occidental Ridge Sonoma Coast: Retail $45. We have been fans of Failla for a while. A long while. And this is the reason. Really vibrant on the nose with dark cherry and a curious touch of mocha. Really close to a Whoa. Good color in the glass with just a hint of bricking. The palate? Whoa. Incredible fruit, still, but secondary flavors of mint and earth. Like I said, I’ve been a fan of Ehren Jordan and Failla for a while. That will not change. At all. Excellent to Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
NV Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Brut: Retail $55. 50-55% Pinot Noir, 20-25% Pinot Meunier, 15-20% Chardonnay with 10-20% Reserve wines. Surprisingly consistent. Or maybe not? The primary goal of non-vintage champagnes is to maintain the house style and the secondary goal is to be consistent year after year. Yes, there may be some overlap in those goals, but nonetheless, both are attained here: green apple and citrus with plenty of yeasty goodness. Tart and angular on the palate with plenty of depth and a finish that rivals the best wines from the region. Bravo. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
NV Salmon Champagne Montgolfiere: Retail $40. 100% Chardonnay. It was only the second night of our five night stay at Universal Studios, Florida. We had just returned from dinner with old friends of ours from Philadelphia who had moved to the Sunshine State around the same time we left for Texas. After a day in the parks, I was tired, sore, and had blisters on my feet. The wine at dinner was not enough and luckily I had brought this from our home cellar. More nutty and yeasty than the other bottles of this we have tried. Tart, citrusy. Delicious. The champers, not Universal Studios, in case that was not obvious. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: In any normal week, I would have likely selected the 2006 Failla Occidental Ridge as the Wine of the Week—it was fantastic and justified my practice of holding on to some wines as they (hopefully) age gracefully in the cellar (a practice that my lovely wife questions on a regular basis). But this was no “regular” week. As I mentioned in a couple of the comments above, we spent most of the week in a hotel room at Universal Studios. One hotel room. For the four of us. As we were prepping for the trip, my wife asked what wines I was planning to bring. When I replied that I had not considered bringing wine, she was flabbergasted, and rightly so. I have said before that my wife is one of the smartest people I know, and this was more proof. While all the wines we brought to Universal were tasty, the wine from the last night, the NV Antoine Derigny Champagne Grand Cru Brut, was particularly noteworthy, not just for what was in the bottle, but as a symbol that we had survived the trip.
What was your Wine of the Week?