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).
2013 Hyland Estates Chardonnay, McMinnville AVA, Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $45. It has been a few years since I have tried this wine, and I have to say that it has faired rather well over the last five years in my cellar (including the trek from Philly to Houston). A bit darker in color with more spice (white pepper, cumin) than fruit (lemon curd) on the nose. The palate is refreshingly tart upfront, followed by a mellow wave of fruit, a few levels of complexity, and then the fruit comes roaring back in on the finish. While this is doing quite well right now, I would not prolong the popping of any remaining bottles much longer. Excellent. 90 Points.
2013 B Kosuge Pinot Noir The Shop, Carneros, CA: Retail $35. It is rare that I actually get to taste this wine as it is one of my wife’s favorites and, as such, she invariably pops one of these when I am off galavanting. Since I have not been able to travel at all these past six months or so, however, I was actually afforded a taste of this next-to-last bottle of this wine. The workhorse of Byron Kosuge’s portfolio, this is an amazingly consistent wine vintage to vintage. Bright cherry fruit with a bit of spice and even anise on the nose with the same great cherry fruit on the palate along with vibrant acidity and plenty of earth (particularly for a Carneros Pinot. Delightful. Excellent. 92 Points.
2018 Joseph Mellot Sancerre La Demoiselle Rosé, France: Retail $65. 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, of which 7% Pinot Noir is added as a still red wine (for color). Even though Nicolas Maillart is in Écueil, a Premier Cru village on the other side of the Montagne de Reims (which is really just a glorified hill), the fruit for this wine comes from perhaps my favorite Grand Cru Village, Bouzy. Thus, I had high hopes and it definitely delivered. Medium salmon color with intense aromas of wild strawberry and Bing cherry paired with a delicate, yet vibrant, sparkle in the glass. The fruit comes through right away on the palate but is quickly followed by a healthy dose of tart (6g/l dosage), zingy acidity, followed by a touch of yeastiness and a lengthy finish. This is not the “best” rosé I have had from Bouzy (I think it has a bit too much Chardonnay), but it is certainly Excellent. 91 Points.
NV G. H. Mumm & Cie Champagne Le Rosé, France: Retail $60. 60% Pinot Noir, 22% Chardonnay, 18% Pinot Meunier, 14% red wine. I saw these on clearance at my local grocery store for $34 and I decided to take a flyer. Glad I did. While this is not the *best* non-vintage rosé that I’ve had, it certainly is solid, even better when closer to cellar temperature. Nice red fruit, healthy backbone, ample depth. Solid wine. $60? Maybe not, but under $35? You bet. Excellent. 90 Points.
2010 Simonnet-Febvre Chablis 1er Cru Côte de Léchet Burgundy, France: Retail $40. 100% Chardonnay. Well, this is the last of four bottles that I purchased back in 2014 from Wines Til Sold Out for $18. And for perhaps the first time in recent memory, I drank the bottles in the more desired order: the first was, well, not very good, the second was certainly better, the third was excellent, and this last bottle was outstanding, on the verge of incredible. Only a slight amount of gold in the otherwise straw-colored wine with lovely aromas of golden delicious apple, lemon rind, an herbal aspect (celery seed?), and both salinity and minerality that have come to define the wines of the region. The palate, like all great Chablis, starts off subtlely with modest fruit and then is followed by balancing, crisp acidity. If it were to end there, this would be a fantastic wine. But the finish is clearly the star of the show here: multi-layered (fruit, minerality, salinity) and long (at least several minutes), I almost did not want to take another sip until the last vestiges of the previous had completely dissipated (emphasis on “almost”). Outstanding. 94 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: For the first time in a while, I popped one of my few remaining bottles of white Burgundy. There was a time that the incredible Chardonnays from central France were my main focus in wine. I had the great fortune to have tasted many great older wines from the region and they had an ethereal quality that I simply had not experienced before. As a result, I started to amass a small collection of white Burgundy (many purchased in France when I was leading bike trips through the region) and I dutifully sowed them in my burgeoning cellar, to be harvested many years later once they had acquired that same exquisite element that had so completely hooked me initially. Unfortunately, many of those bottles so carefully stored would become prematurely oxidized and virtually undrinkable, a particularly disturbing problem that the Burgundians still don’t have a handle on. This week’s Wine of the Week, the 2010 Simonnet-Febvre Chablis 1er Cru Côte de Léchet, was a glorious reminder of what an aged white Burgundy can and should be.
What was your Wine of the Week?