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 Drappier Champagne Rosé de Saignée Brut, France: Retail $70. 100% Pinot Noir. Made by the saignée method where the juice is bled off of the skins after a period of contact, imparting the rosé color. Fairly dark in the glass for a rosé champagne with lovely cherry, citrus, and yeasty aromas. On the palate, this is a delight as well, with juicy fruit, a high level of tartness, and a long, bright finish. While this is not a “bargain” champagne, it is a fine rendition of the genre. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
NV Drappier Champagne Carte d’Or Brut, France: Retail $50. 75% Pinot Noir, 15% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Meunier. When I started my wine odyssey some three decades or so ago, I started with champagne (not a bad place to start at all) and at the time one of my preferred brands was Drappier. It is much more widely available in France, it seems, so it was relatively easy to revisit the wines when I was over there leading bike trips. This is the first bottle of the Carte d’Or that I have had in quite some time and it was a bit like memory lane popping one tonight. I have long preferred the Pinot Noir dominant styles, and this certainly falls into that category: more nutty than fruity, with plenty of baked-in yeastiness in the slightly golden wine, a fervent sparkle, and a muscular mouthfeel. The wine has depth as well as some length and is probably one of the more food-friendly champagnes I have had in a while. I would love to try this with a pork chop, roasted lamb, or even a full-blown Texas ribeye. Delicious. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
2007 Karl Erbes Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese, Mosel, Germany: Retail $26. The last time I was in the Mosel, I visited Karl Erbes based on the suggestion of a fellow blogger who happens to be German–I figured he had to know better than most. He did. I found Karl’s wines clean and focused with plenty of fruit. So when this wine came up on Last Bottle a little over three years ago, I got seven. I somehow consumed the first two without making a note, which is surprising since this is fantastic: apple and peach fruit, a touch of petrol, and steely minerality. Sure, it is fairly sweet, but that is expected from a Spätlese from the Mosel. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
NV Jean-Noël Haton Champagne Extra Brut, France: Retail $70. 50% Pinot Noir, 50% Chardonnay. Similar to previous notes: My in-laws, who live right around the corner (or maybe closer), were coming over for dinner and I needed a pre-visit bottle. I opted for this, the last bottle of which we opened over a year ago. The time has fared this well, and it’s a fantastic wine from a grower in the Marne Valley. A bit dark in the glass, with toasted brioche, citrus, and an active sparkle. Nice and toasty on the palate as well, with plenty of tartness and a lengthy finish. Close to a whoa. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
2009 Skewis Pinot Noir Montgomery, Russian River Valley, CA: Over the last few years, it seems as though my favorite Pinot producers either were bought out by a huge producer (e.g., Brewer-Clifton, Siduri), went out of production (Clos Pepe), or retired and folded up the tent (Skewis). Hank and Maggie decided to call it a career a couple of years ago now and while I have a good supply of their wines in the cellar, they will not last in perpetuity. Still, they were meant to be consumed so I tackled this Montgomery tonight. Black cherry, a bit of earth, pepper, and just slightly stewed. The palate is fruity, albeit reserved, with great acidity, plenty of verve, and a lengthy finish. Fantastic. Whoa. Excellent. 92-94 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: This week, the obvious choice would be the 2009 Skewis Montgomery, an excellent wine from one of my favorite winemakers. But it has already been Wine of the Week once, and, well, I like to spread things around a bit. The Karl Erbes Riesling also would have been a fine choice as it is doing quite well at over a dozen years out. Either of the Drappier champagnes could easily have made it to the top spot as well, but this week I am opting for the NV Jean-Noël Haton Champagne Extra Brut as this week’s top wine. I purchased it a little over three years ago from Central Market here in Houston. Think “Whole Foods on steroids” and a solid reminder of how depressing buying wine in our former state of Pennsylvania is (it is a liquor control state–one has to buy all wine from the state-owned and operated stores, which, well, stink).
What was your Wine of the Week?