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).
2014 Acquiesce Viognier, Lodi, CA: Retail $28. I am not usually a huge fan of Viognier, but Sue Tipton (owner/winemaker) of Acquiesce is an exception. She only makes white wines (and a rosé) which has to be unique to this country. Her Viognier is scrumptious: a bit dark in the glass with aromas of white acacia flower and a touch of peach. The palate is divine with splashes of white peach and oodles of floral notes. While not a huge fan of the variety, this is a particularly tasty iteration. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
NV Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé, France: Retail $24. 100% Pinot Noir. I have little hesitation in saying that this is my favorite French sparkling wine outside of Champagne. Lovely pinkish-orange in the glass with strawberry, melon, and a touch floral. The palate suggests a touch of sweetness, but the tartness quickly balances it out. Fruity, tart, lovely. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
2013 Ancien Chardonnay, Carneros, CA: Retail $38. This is the last bottle of this wine that I received from Last Bottle. It is still doing well, but if you have any left, you might want to get to them soon. Before I pulled this wine, I read a note on this wine written by my wife and as a result, I figured she liked it so it was a safe bet. Popped, poured, and sniffed. While my wife is wonderful in many ways, apparently she can’t detect oak as she described this wine as “not buttery” and “light oak.” While this is short of an “oak bomb” it certainly is loaded with wood. Me? I think oaky “traditional” California Chards need love too, and this is a particularly nice one. Good fruit, good acidity, well balanced. But definitely oaky. And creamy. And buttery. Now I’m faced with a quandary: do I tell my wife she was wrong?!? I don’t think so. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
2015 Roberto Anselmi Bianco San Vincenzo Veneto IGT, Italy: Retail $30. 80% Garganega, 10% Chardonnay, 10% Sauvignon Blanc. Roberto Anselmi is one of the best producers of Garganega and considered a maverick in the Veneto (he eschews the Soave appellation as he feels that the regulations are not stringent enough). This is his largest production wine and simply a delight. Rich golden color with plenty of tropical fruit, the palate is much the same with great tartness and a touch of minerality. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
NV Domaine Chandon Rosé, California: Retail $24. 73% Chardonnay, 26% Pinot Noir, 1% Pinot Meunier. Like Mumm Napa, Chandon is fairly ubiquitous across this country and while we normally prefer Mumm, I purchased a few bottles of this wine to give it a test drive (it has been a while). A bit on the dark side, at least as rosé sparklers go, with a fruity and somewhat floral nose. The palate is initially a bit sweet (the dosage is 10g/l, which is relatively high), but also quite fruity with a nice level of tartness. I picked this up for about $15, which seems about right. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
NV Champagne Collet Champagne Brut, France: Retail $42. 50% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir. Even though the winery is in Aÿ, the fruit for this wine comes from all over Champagne. Light in the glass with a fine sparkle, floral and yeast aromas dominate. The palate is tart with just a hint of sweetness with ripe pear and green apple. I picked this up for $28. That seems about right. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
NV Philippe Gonet Champagne Brut Réserve, France: Retail $50. 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Meunier. Slightly golden in the glass with plenty of toasty, yeasty notes as well as a bit of citrus and marzipan. Tart, fruity, yeasty, and tons of loveliness on the palate. Close to a Whoa. Yet another Pinot Noir-dominate wine that just lights up my Christmas tree. Lovely. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
2014 B Kosuge Chardonnay Sonoma Coast: Retail $48. Every time I taste Byron Kosuge’s Chardonnay, I wonder why he only makes one a year: pale straw with a slightly golden tinge, plenty of lemon curd, melon, and vanilla on the nose. Luscious fruit on the palate as well with near-perfect acidity that delivers an extra tang on the finish. Yet another example of a fantastic Pinot producer whose Chardonnay might be even better. Byron, please, make more Chardonnay! Excellent. 91-93 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: There was a slate of solid wines this week, but none really stood out clearly ahead of the pack. We had a bunch of sparkling wines, which seems to be the norm these days (which is fine with both me and my wife). We also had a couple of Chardonnays, that were both quite nice, particularly the wine from Byron Kosuge. In the end, though, it came down to two varieties that I do not dring a ton of: Garganega and Viognier. Both wines were perhaps a few years beyond what most would suggest would be their ideal drinking windows, but both were fabulous. In the end, though, I opted for the 2014 Acquiesce Viognier, meaning a Lodi wine is the Wine of the Week for the second week in a row.
What was your Wine of the Week?