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 Duval-Leroy Champagne Brut Réserve, France: Retail $50. 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay. Five bottles into this case from Last Bottle now and it appears as though the first bottle (which was fantastic) was the anomaly. Don’t get me wrong, this wine was fine, but rather listless when compared to that first bottle and to other champagnes in this relative class. Still? For the $25 it sold for on Last Bottle? A bargain. Very Good. 88 Points.
NV Paul Berthelot Champagne Premier Cru Eminence, France: Retail $45. 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay. Another bottle from the second case of this wine that is a slight departure from the near-euphoric reaction I had from the bottles of the first dozen that I received from Last Bottle (“Golden in the glass with an active sparkle, which faded fairly quickly. Not much fruit on the nose but plenty of rich tree fruit on the palate and plenty of yeastiness all the way through; the wine is fabulous”). A little less rich, a little more chalky. Still, fantastic. Excellent. 91 Points.
NV Gallimard Père et Fils Champagne Grande Réserve Chardonnay, France: Retail $50. 100% Chardonnay. While my notes are consistent with the last bottle (which follow in italics), I might have to bump this wine up a point or two. It seems clear to me that this non-vintage Blanc de Blancs has some age on it, which is where I feel the style reaches its apogee. It seems evident that as a BdB ages, it sheds a bit of its finesse and takes on more body, which is certainly the case here. Yowza. Over the past few years, Last Bottle has sent me two other champagnes from Gallimard and both were quite good. So, it was a no-brainer when this Blanc de Blancs became available. While the Côtes des Bar is best known for its Pinot Noir, this Chardonnay is delightful. Light straw in the glass with a fine and constant sparkle, this wine has plenty of green apple, baked spice, and just a hint of yeastiness. The palate is tart and incredibly fruity, with a bit of apple pie coming in on the mid-palate and racy acidity on the finish. Really a lovely wine. Excellent. 92 Points.
NV André Clouet Champagne Rose No. 3, France: Retail $50. 100% Pinot Noir (10% Bouzy rouge added to the vin clair). This is more in line with the second bottle–tasty, delightful, but far from transformative. So far four bottles and it is now 50/50. Should I hold my breath on the remaining bottles? Excellent. 90 Points.
NV G. H. Mumm & Cie Champagne Grand Cordon Brut Rosé, France: Retail $60. 60% Pinot Noir, 22% Chardonnay, 18% Pinot Meunier, 14% red wine. Unlike some of the other wines on this list, the six bottles of this wine we have had so far have been three things: consistent, consistent, consistent. Here are my notes from a couple of months ago that still hold true today: 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.
NV Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut Rosé, France: Retail $60. 44 to 48% Pinot Noir, 25 to 29% Chardonnay, 13 to 18% Meunier. I continue to be impressed with this wine. Fantastic: Darker, perhaps, than your “typical” rosé, with bright cherry and strawberry dominate on the nose; delightful. I know the grand old Veuve takes a lot of heat from the various “experts” based, at least in part I imagine, on the fact that Veuve Clicquot is now owned by one of the largest alcohol conglomerates on the planet. The palate exhibits one of the richer rosé champagnes with incredible fruit, great sparkle, and a lasting tartness. It might be a tad sweet, but heck, this is really good. Excellent. 92 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: This week was a bit of an odd week in that the wines that we consumed from the cellar were all from Champagne (and the majority were from Last Bottle). Added to that was the fact that I had purchased many bottles of each of these wines and each bottle above represents at least the fourth time we have had the wine (many more than that when it comes to the Veuve Rosé). It was abundantly clear this week that the old adage is true: There are no good wines, only good bottles. All of the bottles were good and all certainly satisfied (at least momentarily) our seemingly unquenchable desire for bubbles. But if I were forced to choose just one for the Wine of the Week? I guess I would opt for the NV Gallimard Père et Fils Champagne Grande Réserve for two reasons: a) I came across it essentially by accident, and b) I normally do not embrace the Blanc de Blancs style. Look at me grow.
What was your Wine of the Week?