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).
2006 Blain-Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Caillerets, Burgundy, France: Retail $80. 100% Chardonnay. I have been worried about my older white Burgundies, as I have literally lost sleep over them–the last decade (or more) has been defined by the number of Burgundian Chardonnays that have been oxidized far earlier than what one would hope or expect. While this C-M initially caused concern with its golden (but short of amber) color and muted fruit on the nose. The palate, though, is chockful of acidity and hints of fruity goodness. This was far better at room temperature (as is the case with many better Burgs), and I eventually came around to this wine, which gave me hope, if only fleeting, that some of my remaining white burgs might still be OK, too. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
NV Gardet Champagne Premier Cru Brut: From Magnum. Retail $100. 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier. There are few universals in life: taxes, death, and magnums of champagne are categorically more festive than a standard 750ml. I am not entirely sure what causes the reaction, but when you present a large format bottle of bubbles, every person in attendance becomes noticeably giddier. And giddy is good. Really good. I bought a bunch of 750ml bottles of this wine from Last Bottle and was utterly pleased. So when magnums of the wine showed up on the site, I jumped. No, I lept (in case you were wondering, “lept” is much more fervent a reaction than “jumped”). This magnum matched or surpassed all the previous iterations: a bit of a golden color, a fantastic nose of lemon curd and brioche, with a palate bristling with fruit, zest, and yeasty wonderfulness. Close to a whoa. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
2005 Domaine de l’Oriel Gérard Weinzorn Riesling Florimont, Alsace Grand Cru: Retail: $25. I had just returned from my wife’s work party. Yeah. I am not sure why I went (other than the obvious), but I was more than a little excited to see a bottle of Chateau Montelena Chardonnay in the cooler. After I had pointed it out to my wife (who had convinced me the wine at the party would suck), she then promptly convinced the hostess to remove it from the cooler and to save it for people who would “understand what it was.” Um. Excuse me? Have we met?? So when I returned home a bit early (we drove separate cars), I opened this to commiserate–it’s one of her favorites. Not quite what it used to be, quite dark in the glass but still gangbusters with plenty of petrol and lemon on the nose, good acidity (but also oxidized) on the palate, with subtle fruit and just enough tension to pull it off. and yes, I could appreciate what it was, thank you very much. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
NV Salmon Champagne Montgolfiere: Retail $35. Wine is a rather odd product. With most ingestible consumables, we expect it to be rather consistent. Be it Wonder bread, Skittles, or Slim Jims, we buy the item assuming or even “knowing” that the product will taste exactly like it did the last time. Wine? Well, maybe there is a general “hope” for consistency, but there is certainly no guarantee. In all, I have purchased 15 bottles of this wine from Last Bottle, and while all of the ten consumed so far have been Very Good to Excellent, there has certainly been some variation. This bottle, like the others, was very nutty, but this one seemed noticeably “older” than its predecessors. Was it the cork? Was it an older blend (as with most NV champagnes, there is no way to tell)? What I do know is that for the price, this remains a solid bottle of bubbles. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: I am writing this stranded in the Detroit airport, my flight already delayed for three hours. I had a connection in this city that I used to call my home on the way back from France, arriving to find the flight had been delayed for “mechanical issues” (not much inspires more confidence than those two words in an airport) I began the day with a one-hour drive from Lorgues in Provence to the airport in Nice, then a flight to Charles de Gaulle, a two-hour layover there, a seven and a half hour flight, another 30 minutes on the tarmac here in Detroit, and now what will be a four-hour-plus layover in the Motor City. I’m a little tired, so my math is fuzzy, but I think that makes 47 straight hours of being awake (maybe a bit less). So this week, there is not a Wine of the Week. They were all pretty good. I think. OK, I don’t care. I just want to sleep.
What was your Wine of the Week?