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 Alexandre Bonnet Champagne Perle Rosée Brut, France: Retail $40. 100% Pinot Noir. I bought this a couple of weeks ago for my wife for her birthday, so naturally, I popped this when she was out of town (so sue me). I had just returned from the airport and was craving some bubbles and this was the first bottle I saw (at least that is the story I will recount to my wife if she happens to inquire). Fairly dark for a rosé, but with a rather faint sparkle and aromas of cherry and strawberry. Bright and fruity on the palate with a solid tartness and decent finish. Not a world-beater, but a fine choice for a Wednesday night (or was it Sunday?). Very Good. 87-89 Points.
NV Antoine Derigny Champagne Grand Cru Brut, France: Retail $50. 100% Chardonnay. That’s more like it. After a second bottle that was a bit below what the first bottle had been, this third bottle is right back up there: Slightly golden in the glass with all kinds of baked goodness and golden delicious apples on the nose. The palate is tart and clean with apple, brioche, and verve. Back on top, indeed. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
NV Jean-Noël Haton Champagne Brut Classic, France: Retail $40. 60% Pinot Meunier, 40% Pinot Noir. As I mentioned before concerning this wine, this is not a bottle of special occasion champagne. In fact, it may not even be a “phew, it’s the end of another long week, let’s bubble” kind of wine. But it certainly is a “my basketball team got boat-raced yet again tonight and I need to add me some sparkle” kinda wine. Pale straw in the glass with classic lemon, yeasty goodness on the nose. The palate is clean and also classic: tart with a splash of fruit, some baked goods. Solid. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
NV Mumm Napa Brut Rosé Reserve Extended Tirage: Retail $50. 66% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay. I bought this at the winery back in 2015 and while we consider the standard Brut Rosé a staple in our home, this is head and shoulders above that. Pale salmon with an intense rhubarb nose married with the aroma of a freshly baked well-done brioche (but not burned). The palate is both fruity and delightfully tart with oodles of red berries, baked goodness, and a finish that lasts for many, many, minutes. Whoa. I’m not sure how many domestic sparklers I’ve tried, but few have been better. Outstanding to Outstanding Plus. 93-95 Points.
2009 Qupé Chardonnay Reserve Bien Nacido Block Eleven, CA: Retail $30. It’s been two years now since Patty Green passed away and each bottle I’ve opened since causes me to pause. She was such a force and such a bright light. But her wines, crafted by my college classmate Jim Anderson, live on. This Balcombe is simply amazing. Fairly light in the glass with lovely dark cherry, cedar, and eucalyptus. Close to a whoa. The palate is balanced and precise, even close to a decade out. With a finish that lasts a couple of minutes, this gets a Whoa. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: This week, surprisingly, represents a couple of firsts when it comes to the Wine of the Week. That first “first” is the fact that I neglected to take a photo of the “winning” wine this week. Actually, that is not all that unusual as it has happened several times before but in each of those instances I either had another bottle of said wine in the cellar or I was able to rescue the empty vessel from the recycling heap in order to stage a quick photo. Not this time. Perhaps more worthy of note, I believe this is the first time that an American-made sparkling wine has been giving the weekly honor. I will have to go back and check (I am saying that, but we both know it is unlikely), but as I do, you can know that the Mumm Napa Brut Rosé Reserve Extended Tirage is this week’s Wine of the Week (photo borrowed from the Mumm website).
What was your Wine of the Week?