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 Champagne Collet Champagne Brut, France: Retail $42. 50% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir. I saw this on sale for under thirty bucks at my local grocery store and I thought I would take a flyer. The first bottle was Very Good, so I went back and bought the remaining six bottles. While this is certainly not in my wheelhouse (I prefer champagnes that are more Pinot Noir focused or, increasingly, 100% Chardonnay with some age on it). But for the price? This certainly does the trick: tart (citrus), fruity (green apple), with some floral (hibiscus) aspects. Very Good. 87-89 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.
2012 Frick Winery Grenache Blanc, Dry Creek Valley, CA: Retail $25. There are few people in the world like Bill Frick. He is not only the winemaker and the viticulturist, he is also the tasting room manager, mailing list coordinator, and shipping clerk. In other words: one-man show. And I love that. A lot. Having said that, I might have waited too long here. Golden, almost amber in the glass with lemon and almost sherried notes in the glass, the palate is still deliciously tart, but decidedly aged. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
NV Philippe Gonet Champagne Brut Réserve, France: Retail $50. 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, 10% 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.
NV Mailly Champagne Grand Cru Brut Rosé, France: Retail $50. 90% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay. I have had this wine dozens of times, with overall, consistent notes. But. I have to go there. In general, I love Cellar Tracker. I have been using it as my cellar management tool for over 13 years and I find the platform quite valuable. I also enjoy the tasting notes and views of others (even when I don’t necessarily agree). But. This wine has (now) 31 tasting notes with an average score of a hair above 87. Huh? I did a little digging (and calculating) and if it were not for one user, the average would be above 90 points. Why does it matter? It doesn’t, really, but one guy who scored this wine seven times (with an average of 78 and a standard deviation of 7(!)) successfully has pulled this wine down significantly. Doesn’t seem right. Rant over. The wine? More of a light red than a pink in the glass with a nose which is characterized by a rich strawberry and touches of yeastiness. The palate is luscious with red berry fruit, fresh croissant, and a vibrant, tart sparkle. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
2013 Bernard et Christophe Richel Vin de Savoie Apremont, France: Retail $15. 100% Jacquère. I bought this wine back in 2015 before the thought of Houston had ever entered our collective brain. I bought it to mix with Crème de Cassis to make a beloved Kir. Since we have strayed a bit from our Kir obsession, this wine has languished in the cellar for some time. In the hopes of clearing out some room for my more recent obsessions. On its own? Seven years out? One could do a heckuva lot worse: tart, racy, hints of fruit. Not a mind-blower, but this would be absolute gangbusters with a shot of crème de cassis. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
NV Chateau St. Jean Brut Rosé, Sonoma County, CA: Retail $25. Chardonnay and Barbera. The last time I had this wine was for my Blind Tasting of American Sparkling Wines back in December, and this is what I wrote at the time: “Gorgeous pink with a hint of orange. Candied nose almost caramel. Fruity and a bit sweet on the palate. Good, but not my favorite.” I would say that is pretty spot on with my thoughts on this bottle. There are certainly better domestic sparkling wines out there for the suggested retail price, but this is one of those wines that is rarely at SRP. I got it for half of that, which makes it a pretty good bargain in my book. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: This week was rather odd. I am a numbers kind of guy and looking at the scores I gave to the seven wines we consumed this week, three fell into the 91-93 point range and the other four were 87-89 points. Odd. Scrolling through my phone for this post, I also noticed that I did not take a single bottle shot of any of the wines consumed this week. Also odd as I quite regularly torture my family for minutes as I try to get a good photo of the evening’s meal aside the day’s selected bottle of wine. What is not odd, particularly for this time of year? Five of the seven bottles were sparking wines, four of them, champagnes. As was this week’s Wine of the Week, a house favorite, the Mailly Champagne Grand Cru Brut Rosé.
What was your Wine of the Week?