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).
2015 Château Bonnet (Pierre-Yves Perrachon) Saint-Amour Vieilles Vignes, Beaujolais, France: Retail $30 (?). 100% Gamay. Under cork. Another two years on this beauty and it seems to be wearing it quite well. Fairly dark in the glass, tons of fruit on the nose (black cherry, raspberry, even cassis), with touches of flint and earth, this is a real delight. The palate is tart, fruity, earthy, and still has some soft (but noticeable) tannins on the finish. Fantastic. It was not until I opened the bottle that I realized that Valentine’s Day is about a week away and it’s easily Saint-Amour’s biggest day. Is it a coincidence I opened this bottle now? Was my subconscious playing with me? Um. No. I think Valentine’s Day is stupid but that does not render this wine any less Fantastic. Excellent. 91 Points.
NV Champagne Collet Champagne Brut Rosé, France: Retail $50. 50% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Meunier. The second of three bottles that I purchased from my local grocery store and it is every bit as good as the first. That is a bit dangerous since this wine is now on sale at my said grocery store (I love my H-E-B!) for just over thirty bucks. Back up the truck! (I actually drive a Prius but you get the idea.) Similar notes to the first bottle: Fairly dark when it comes to rosé champagnes with a deep reddish-orange and plenty of flinty, blood-orange, rhubarb, peach, hibiscus, rose petal, a whole lot going on here on the nose. The palate is tart, subtly fruity, and, quite frankly, fantastic. I did not have high hopes for this, but it really excels. Excellent. 91 Points.
2010 Château de Chassagne-Montrachet Saint-Aubin 1er Cru En Remilly, France: Retail $50. 100% Chardonnay. This was the third of three bottles that I purchased from Wines Til Sold Out. The first two bottles were stellar–everything that I would expect from a 1er Cru Saint Aubin. This bottle, however, is a bit more tired than the other two. A bit more color, a shade or two darker, a little less fruit–essentially a bit lower on every measurable scale. But not by much. There is still a bit of fruit, mouth-watering acidity, a bit of weight, and plenty of character. While character will get you to the starting line, it won’t necessarily get you to the finish. Good, but below the others. Very Good. 88 Points.
2013 Laetitia Winery Pinot Noir Estate, Arroyo Grande Valley, CA: Retail $25. It has been a solid five and a half years since I sampled this wine in 2015 and I had forgotten about this second bottle until my father-in-law came over and wanted a Pinot. So being the doting son-in-law, I grabbed this, hoping it had held up over the years (and the move to Houston). It did. Fairly dark in the glass, with mostly dark berry fruit, a touch of earth, and some spice. The palate is much the same with pleasant flavors and fantastic acidity. This is not the most complex Pinot on the market, but it is also far from expensive. Solid. Very Good. 89 Points.
NV A. R. Lenoble Champagne Cuvée Intense Brut, France: Retail $50. 30% Chardonnay from Chouilly (Grand Cru), 25% Pinot Noir from Bisseuil (1er Cru), and 45% Pinot Meunier from Damery (Marne Valley). A well-respected family-owned negociant house, with most of its wines highlighting their Grand Cru vineyard in Chouilly. I received a few bottles of this wine from LastBottleWines.com a few years ago and this is, surprisingly, only the second bottle I have opened (and the first in three years). Based on my last note, not much has changed (other than a bit more sherried on the nose and a somewhat subdued sparkle): “Nice and tart nose with good floral notes and plenty of citrus. Well-balanced on the palate, delicate sparkle. Really nice.” Very Good. 89 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 have been around this block now at least 18 times. Still stellar, but this bottle comes in a bit below the most recent iterations. Sure, it is still relatively dark for a rosé, with plenty of fruit on both the nose and the palate (strawberry, cherry, raspberry). There is a touch of flint along with a healthy dose of yeasty goodness as well in the glass and the palate is much the same with a consistent acidity that races from start to finish. For whatever reason, however, this bottle was not quite as complex as the previous wines. Still, Excellent. 91 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: As is often the case in selecting the Wine of the Week, I opt for a wine that is not only “good” but also evokes some sort of memory. Such is certainly the case this week with the 2015 Château Bonnet Saint-Amour Vieilles Vignes. While I purchased the wine through somewhat “traditional” channels (I bought six bottles from Wines Til Sold Out a couple of years ago), it was my visit to the winery in the heart of Moulin-à-Vent a year or so prior to the purchase that put the winery on the map for me, so to speak. Then, I met the Perrachon family who owns and runs the estate, including Charlotte, the twenty-something daughter who is the winemaker. Château Bonnet is perhaps how we all imagine that winemaking is (or certainly should be): a family affair with all hands on deck, pitching in to make the family venture a success.
What was your Wine of the Week?