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 Rouge, Burgundy, France: Retail $75? 100% Pinot Noir. I bought three bottles of this wine for $25/each online over ten years ago and this is the first that I have opened. Whoa. While far from “fruity” this wine does have quite a bit of fruit both on the nose and the palate. It’s also earthy, minty, and yes, even a tad bit tannic on the finish. This is the first Burgundy I have opened in some time and I am not disappointed in the least. Oustanding. 93-95 Points.
NV Antoine Derigny Champagne Grand Cru Brut, France: Retail $50. Even though this is 100% Chardonnay, they curiously do not label it as a Blanc de Blancs, not sure why. Regardless, this is a lovely champagne with citrus and yeasty notes on the nose with tons of green apple on the palate. I have little doubt that this wine will continue to get better with some cellar time, as most BdBs do, but why wait? It is particularly tasty now. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
2019 Cave d’Esclans Whispering Angel, France: Retail $25. Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Carignan, Rolle. Another classic from perhaps the #1 producer of rosé in the world. Faint pink with an orange tint with fresh strawberries, citrus (grapefruit), and flinty minerality on the nose. The palate displays the characteristic zingy tartness and fruity mouthfeel. If there is a consistently better Provençal rosé, I do not know what it is. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
2019 Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé, France: Retail $25. Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, Rolle. Another fantastic vintage of Miraval: quite light in the glass with a pinkish-peach hue and aromas of delicate red berries and white flowers. The palate is pure Provence with great fruit, fantastic acidity, and quite a bit of depth. This is only a few bucks more than the “Studio by Miraval” (first released last year) but worth it. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2018 Château Miraval Mediterranée Studio by Miraval, Provence, France: Retail $18. Under screw. Cinsault, Grenache, Rolle, Tibouren. The baby sibling to Miraval, the immensely popular wine owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and made by the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel fame. Light in the glass, classic Provençal profile: peach, white flower, nice acidity. Similar to the Miraval, but without the depth. Still, Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2014 Château des Sarrins Côtes de Provence Blanc Secret, France: Retail $20 (?). 100% Rolle. Several years ago, on a visit to Provence, I made a stop at Château des Sarrins, the Provençal outpost for Bruno Paillard of Champagne fame. While the rosé was divine, and the red sublime, this white was easily my favorite. 100% Rolle, this was amazing. Now? Maybe better. The fruit has faded, replaced by a smoky nuttiness. The palate is nearly devoid of fruit (some citrus) but over-the-top in acidity, that smoky-nuttiness, and considerable depth. OK. Whoa. This is not what it once was, but holy cow, it’s fantastic now. Excellent to Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2010 Tallulah Syrah Shake Ridge Ranch, Amador County, CA:
Retail $30. It has been a couple of years since we have a bottle of this gem and it is still shining brightly tonight. Dark and brooding in the glass with dark fruit (blackberry, plum), black pepper, and spice. Yowza. The palate is equally enthralling: rich fruit, dark spice, earth, subtle tannins, and a lengthy finish. Sadly, we have but two bottles left, but they should endure for another couple of years, at least. Whoa. Oustanding. 93-95 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: This week there were three strong contenders for the Wine of the Week and choosing just one for the top honor was difficult, but not anything like brain surgery. The 2006 Blain-Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet was without a doubt the biggest surprise of the week–I have a few bottles of Burgundy left in the cellar but I have largely ignored them since I have not been having good luck as of late with them. Burgundy has also become so ridiculously expensive that I have pretty much decided not to buy any more wine from the region (and thus it appears that I am stupidly hoarding the few bottles I have left). The 2010 Tallulah Syrah was also Outstanding and is one of my wife’s personal favorites and made by the talented winemaker Mike Drash, who has since left Napa and moved to Minnesota, of all places, to make wine. Both were great bottles of wine, but neither was Wine of the Week. No, that goes to the 2014 Château des Sarrins Côtes de Provence Blanc Secret. Why? Well, it is a rare occasion that I get to drink a white wine from Provence–white wines represent only 5% of the production in the region and very little makes it to the U.S. (I brought this back with me from one of my trips to France). It also helps that it is made by the Bruno Paillard family, one of my favorite producers in Champagne.
What was your Wine of the Week?