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).
2004 Domaine Vincent Girardin Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, Burgundy, France: Retail $100 (?): It was the Friday of Thanksgiving weekend when the main theme is leftovers, right? Well, we had been tasting and drinking the leftovers from my Third Blind Tasting of American Pinot Noir and we were a bit Pinot-ed out. We were also watching the last episode of the Queen’s Gambit. What does any of that have to do with Corton-Charlemagne? Absolutely nothing (other than the tidbit that it was Charlemagne’s wife, according to the legend that caused the King to plant Chardonnay in Corton). Oh, the wine? Holy Goodness. While a golden-amber in the glass and a bit closed on the nose, this is all fantasmigorical on the palate: bright, tart, candied, and even sherried on the palate. I have a limited number of white Burgs left (and doubt I will be acquiring more–certainly not of this caliber) and there is little doubt that none will surpass the elegance and beauty of this one. Outstanding. 95 Points.
2004 Gros Frère et Sœur Clos Vougeot Musigni, Burgundy, France: Retail $250+(?). 100% Pinot Noir. Clos Vougeot is the largest of the Grand Crus in the Côtes de Nuits, but that only means a total of just over 50 hectares (125 acres), which is divvied up among more than 80 growers. Well, the last bottle that I opened of this wine was only back in February of this year but that seems like well more than a world ago. Fairly dark and musty in the glass with earth, spice, and over-ripe, even stewed black cherry in the glass. But the nose is even more than that as there is tobacco, black pepper, clove, meat, and even blood–the type of wine one could sniff for days and never find all the various aromas. The palate is quintessential Burgundy: plenty of fruit (if one would call it such) that is dried, stewed, even pickled, and laden with loads of secondary and tertiary aspects (leather, tobacco, clove, allspice). I would hazard to guess that this is not everyone’s cup of tea, but oh my goodness is it mine. Whoa. And Holy Cow. Extraordinary. 97 Points.
2012 Domaine Guerrin et Fils Pouilly-Fuissé Sur la Roche, France: Retail 25€. 100% Chardonnay. I was on a press trip in Southern Burgundy and I wanted to buy a bottle of this wine from the winery–they offered it instead (does that make it a sample?). Based on the day-bright straw color of this wine, I would have been hard-pressed to guess that this was an eight-year-old Chardonnay, much less from Pouilly-Fuissé in Burgundy. Lovely lemon curd, minerality, and celery seed on the nose. The palate is tart, lively, and down-right delicious. This is what a nearly decade-old Burgundy should be: too young (yes, that is a thinly veiled criticism of the whites from the Côte d’Or that struggle to make it to this age without oxidation). Whoa. Outstanding. 94 Points.
2002 Maison Leroy Meursault, Burgundy, France: Retail $250(?). 100% Chardonnay. We received this as a gift over a decade ago (10/2007) when good friends came over for dinner. They implored us to not open the bottle with them (as was my normal want for the last dozen or so years) but to save the bottle for a special occasion, whatever that might be. Well, given that said friends are unlikely to ever visit south Texas, I decided to pop this puppy when we were visited by some friends who professed their love for good white Burgundy. Whoa. And then another. And even a third. Well past straw in color, this golden elixir was a joy to behold in the glass. Ripe, honeyed pear, river-soaked rock, and maybe a touch of white pepper. Holy cow. And whoa (again). The palate? “Rich,” “luscious,” and “decadent” are but three words that attempt to describe the joy that attacks the senses with this wine. Whoa. I can count on one hand the number of white Burgundies that I have tried that approach this wine and maybe that is high. This is not just a wine, but the reason one dares to age white Burgs, and thus a once in a decade kind of experience, the type of wine for which one reserves the highest of scores. Extraordinary. 99 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Whoa. What a week. While I have been popping a ton of corks lately trying to get out from under a pile of sparkling wine samples this month, I decided to pull from my few remaining “great” bottles in the cellar. And great they were. Each has a story attached to it and each is among the best bottles I have opened this very odd year, and two were among the best wines I have tried ever. Choosing one for a Wine of the Week seems a bit foolish, but if there were the proverbial gun to my head, I would have to go with the 2002 Maison Leroy Meursault, coincidentally the only one of the quartet that I did not personally bring back from France. As I mentioned in the note, it was a gift from one of our dear friends in Philadelphia who, no doubt, would be delighted to know that we enjoyed it so thoroughly (and that is perhaps the understatement of the year).
What was your Wine of the Week?