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 Edmond Barnaut Champagne Grand Cru Brut Blanc De Noirs Quintessence Du Pinot Noir: Retail $45. 100% Pinot Noir. I was visiting family in Ann Arbor and thus was in desperate need of some quality bubbles since my sister thinks that means Bartles & Jaymes and my mother thinks that equates to a rum & Coke. I went to a local (more or less) Plum Market which has a solid selection of wine for a grocery store (albeit upscale). As I said, I was craving bubbles and I almost went for a big producer when I saw this bottle with “Bouzy” emblazoned across the label. I have mentioned countless times that Bouzy is my go-to village in the region when all else is equal. Well, this wine is not “equal.” First, it is solid farmer fizz (grower champagne), fruity and nutty on the nose with plenty of baked brioche and croissant. The palate is tart and vibrant with a nutty yeastiness really coming through on the finish. This is what I had hoped for, but when it was empty my only other choice was a Coke float. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
NV Gosset Champagne Grand Rosé Brut: 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 Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Brut Rosé Sauvage: Retail: $55. 55%-60% Pinot Noir (of which about half is still red wine), 30%-35% Pinot Meunier, 10%-15% Chardonnay. I like to think I have a pretty good relationship with the importer (Terlato) and the now former chef de cave (Régis Camus). Does that jade my evaluation of the wines? I hope not, but who cares? this is delicious. Perhaps the darkest rosé champagne I’ve had in a while. Maybe ever. Rich red fruit (strawberry and cherry) with a bit of chalkiness. The palate is fruity and fun. Not a ton of yeastiness, this is all about the fruit. And I love fruit. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
NV J.P. Secondé Champagne Blanc de Noirs Brut: Retail $45. 100% Pinot Noir. This is the fourth different champagne that I have tried from this producer and the common theme remains: too high of a dosage that renders the wine too round. Don’t get me wrong, this is my style of champagne with tons of body and great structure, but it is partially hidden by that sugar. Drop it to 5-7 grams/liter and I would guess this wine would soar. Peach and apple, a splash of citrus, and good acidity (albeit masked). As I sipped through this, it continued to grow on me to the point that the sweetness started to fall away a bit and the brightness of this wine came through. Please, please, please, drop the dosage! Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: So it looks as though we had a bit of champagne this week. What else is new? Champagne was my first love and it continues to dominate my yearly consumption. I’m not sure, but I think if I only consumed champagne over the course of an entire year, I would vow to do the same on each subsequent New Years Eve. While I would not hesitate to recommend any of the wines reviewed above, the JP Secondé was just a smidge too sweet. The Barnaut was a tad too difficult to evaluate objectively since the alternatives were down-right scary, and the Piper Sauvage was, well, there was nothing wrong with the Sauvage, but you have to choose one. And that choice was the NV Gosset Champagne Grand Rosé Brut, a wine from arguably my favorite house (not named Krug) in the region.
What was your Wine of the Week?