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).
2008 Brick House Chardonnay Ribbon Ridge, Willamette Valley, Oregon: Retail $40. Biodynamic. I picked uptown bottles of this wine back in 2010 when I was out at the International Pinot Noir Celebration in McMinnville, Oregon. The first bottle, that we drank in November, was phenomenal. This is excellent as well, but a notch below the first bottle. Citrusy with an ounce of funk and straw yellow, almost clear. The palate is reserved yet expressive with lemon curd, a restrained acidity, and lengthy finish. Still impressive, but not in the same league as the first. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2010 Gary Farrell Chardonnay Carneros Selection: Retail $30. I seem to be saying this a lot lately: this is my last bottle of this wine. Don’t get me wrong, that is generally a good thing, but I got these on the cheap ($12/bottle) from the PLCB before I left Pennsylvania. I liked it so much, I bought a couple of cases, and for a while, it was our “house Chardonnay” whatever that means. Farrell no longer makes wine from Carneros, though, since they have seen the effects of climate change on the vineyards and they felt the fruit was no longer up to their rather high standards. Quite tropical and juicy, with great acidity, and utterly delicious. Not a shy Chard, but not an oak bomb either. Lovely. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
NV Gosset Grand Rosé Champagne: Retail: $75. 58% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, 7% Red Pinot Noir. I’ve had these for a while, so It is no surprise that the color (an organish-pink) has faded a bit. Stewed cherry, ripe strawberry, and a hint of oxidation/age. The palate is fairly amazing with reserved but ample fruit, incredible acidity, and a studly finish. I have had this for a while and you can tell: the fruit is a bit muted, the flavors slightly stewed, but oh so good. Excellent to Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
NV J.P. Secondé Champagne Blanc de Blancs: Retail $45. 100% Chardonnay. I normally shy away from Blanc de Blancs since, in my opinion, they lack the backbone that Pinot Noir provides. Nonetheless, this wine was a part of a case that I bought online, so I thought I would give this a twirl on our family pizza night. A bit golden in the glass with a lovely nose of lemon zest and lightly toasted baguette. The palate starts off tart and vibrant, followed by rich fruit, and a bit of yeast. A solid effort, but perhaps a bit too much on the dosage as it comes off too sweet. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
NV Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut Rosé: Retail $65. 44 to 48% Pinot Noir, 13 to 18% Pinot Meunier, 25 to 29% Chardonnay. Darker, perhaps, than your “typical” rosé, with bright cherry and strawberry dominate on the nose; delightful. I know the grand old Veuve takes a lot of heat from the various “experts” based, at least in part I imagine, on the fact that Veuve Clicquot is now owned by one of the largest alcohol conglomerates on the planet. The palate exhibits one of the richer rosé champagnes with incredible fruit, great sparkle, and a lasting tartness. It might be a tad sweet, but heck, this is really good. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Not much of a contest this week for Wine of the Week honors. Sure, the Brick House and Gary Farrell Chardonnays were excellent and both evoked fond memories of how I acquired the wines, and the Veuve Clicquot Rosé is underrated by most wine snobby folk like me. But. The NV Gosset Grand Rosé Champagne really was in a class of its own this week. Not only is it one of my favorite non-vintage rosés, it causes me to recall my many trips to Champagne. Founded in 1584, it is the oldest wine house in Champagne, and continually produces wines of exceptional quality. For a while, it was a bit of a Holy Grail for me—I would stop on my way through Aÿ (a small town just outside of Epernay, where the company was founded nearly 450 years ago) to see if I could taste a few wines. Each time, I was politely (I guess you would call it “politely”) turned away, being told they did not receive visitors. Once they bought a much larger facility in Epernay, however (and I had gained a bit of recognition through this blog), I have been lucky enough to visit a couple of times now (even though they technically still do not have visitors). What does all that mean? I am not entirely sure, but I do know that I love the wine and all the memories that come along with it.
What was your Wine of the Week?