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 Roberto Anselmi Bianco San Vincenzo Veneto IGT, Italy: Retail $15. 80% Garganega, 10% Chardonnay, 10% Sauvignon Blanc. Roberto Anselmi is one of the best producers of Garganega (he eschews the Soave appellation as he feels that the regulations are not stringent enough) and considered a maverick in the Veneto. This is his largest production wine and simply a delight. Rich golden color with plenty of tropical fruit, the palate is much the same with great tartness and a touch of minerality. Really a stellar wine, particularly for the price (I paid $11 at Costco). This was our last bottle, I will certainly be looking for more. Excellent. 90 Points.
2015 Domaine Besson Chablis 1er Cru Montmains, Burgundy, France: Retail $33. 100% Chardonnay. This is the fourth bottle of seven that I have cracked and this is easily the best thus far. Now I know a bit about bottle variation, but this is close to ridiculous. Brilliant straw in the glass, with faint citrus (lime, lemon curd) and white acacia flower, but the star of the show, as with many a Chablis, is the steely minerality. The palate is surprisingly a tad round but with much more fruit than I found on the nose. By the mid palate, the acidity kicks in and carries the wine all the way to the finish. Lovely. Excellent. 91 Points.
NV Paul Dethune Champagne Grand Cru Nature Ambonnay, France: Retail $60. 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay. This Grand Cru beauty comes from a relatively small grower/producer in Ambonnay, one of the storied villages on the Montagne de Reims. This is the sixth bottle of 12 that I have opened and there is no doubt that this is a stellar champagne. Light straw with a vibrant sparkle, consistent fruit (tons of pear), and a smidge of yeasty goodness all in the glass. The palate is quite tart and a slight deviation from the previous bottles. Yes, it is Excellent, but who knows where it goes from here. Very Good. 89 Points.
2013 Michel Magnien Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes, Burgundy, France: Retail $60. 100% Pinot Noir. I do not buy much Burgundy (either red or white) since the prices have gone through the roof. But I found a guy who had two bottles of this wine for a fraction of the retail value. Let’s just say I am pretty sure they fell off a truck. Rich Burgundy color and nose with some dark berry fruit, earth, and a smidge of funk (I love the funk–and some might call it “barnyard”). The palate is classic–subtle fruit, intense tartness, plenty of earth, and still vibrant tannins. I hesitated before buying this wine–all I was told was it was a “Gevrey”–no producer, no vintage, nothing. But I took a leap of faith and was rewarded. No, it is not my bucket-list Burg, but it is delightful.Excellent. 91 Points.
NV Mailly Champagne Grand Cru Brut Réserve, France: Retail $42. 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay. Seeing that we consider this our “house champagne” it is surprising that we have not had a bottle in the past three months. I might need to have a Congressional Inquiry into that irregularity. What can I say that I haven’t said before? Great aromas and flavors (peach and pear) with more than a modicum of yeastiness. Delightful. This bottle comes off as just slightly sweet, which is odd since the dosage on Mailly is usually spot-on. Regardless, this bottle represents a return to the norm, to the Mailly of memory, and the reason we named our puppy after the winery/town. This is a fantastic wine which, if you have yet to try it, get thee to a Total Wine and try a bottle. Be sure to let me know what you think! Excellent. 92 Points.
2018 Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé, France: Retail $25. 50% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, 10% Syrah, 10% Rolle. In just a few years, this wine made by the Perrin Family and partially owned by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt has become a bit of a Provençal icon. Its short, rotund bottle, which will not fit into any wine rack is easy to spot on any wine shop shelf even surrounded by scores of other pink wines. And the contents deserve the attention. Pale pinkish-orange in the glass with notes of strawberry, melon, fresh spring flowers, and a touch of minerality. The palate is both fruity and tart but incredibly balanced and, well, delightful. For years I have tried to dislike this wine for many of the reasons enumerated in this note (I am not a fan, generally, of celebrity wines nor of wines that need special dispensation to fit into my cellar) but for nearly a decade, this has been one of the best wines from the region available on these shores. Excellent. 91 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: I do not drink a ton of Chablis but I really do not know why. Wines from the region (particularly at the Premier and Grand Cru levels) are fantastic, great interpretations of what Chardonnay can (should?) be, and are considerably more affordable than their Burgundy cousins to the south from the Côte d’Or. This week’s Wine of the Week, the 2015 Domaine Besson Chablis 1er Cru Montmains certainly checked all those boxes and I should throw in perhaps another: Chablis (at least in my experience) does not seem to suffer from the premature oxidation problems that has beset white wines from Chassagne, Puligny, and Meursault. So why don’t I drink more Chablis again?
What was your Wine of the Week?