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 Fourrier-Delmotte Champagne Brut, France: Retail $49(?). 100% Pinot Noir from la Côte des Bar. I am usually fairly careful when I make a purchase: I double-check the information about the wine, I research the price, I check the reviews. This time, though, I *knew* the wine, there was not need to research the price, to read the reviews. It was a top producer from Champagne which I knew fairly well. Sure, the label was slightly different, a bit more modern. Still, I didn’t hesitate, I bought six bottles from WTSO. They arrived, I opened one, it was a bit odd (metallic) and I looked more closely at the bottle it was not “Delamotte” but rather “Delmotte.” Yup, no “a” in the middle where it should be. A bit ticked off at myself, I put a stopper in it and returned to it the next day. Much better on day two, the metallic element had disappeared, replaced by green apple, pear, and a yeasty aspect one hopes for in a champagne all exude beyond the rim of this brilliant straw-colored wine with medium sized bubbles. The palate is quite nice as well with good fruit, some tart acidity (although a bit rounder than I would like), and a decent finish. Twenty-five bucks (what I paid WTSO) a bottle sounds about right. But I am still rather ticked off at myself. Very Good. 87 Points.
NV Gruet Winery Cuvée 89 Brut, New Mexico: Retail $15. 100% (?) Chardonnay. When I saw this wine on the clearance shelf in my local grocery store (I love my H-E-B!) at 50% off, I was intrigued–just about any traditional method sparkler is worth a flyer at that price. When I looked a little closer at the label and saw that it was made by Gruet, one of my favorite domestic producers, I grabbed six bottles (and paid for them, naturally). That is about all I know about this wine (“89” was the year that the New Mexico winery was founded). One sight said it was a Chardonnay, but I have yet to verify that claim. Deep golden color in the glass, to the point of a fear of oxidation (it’s not). Ripe pear and peach dominate the nose with a smattering of yeastiness. The palate is rather austere (I imagine the dosage is fairly low) with good fruit flavors and plenty of mineral notes. More character, perhaps than the standard Brut from Gruet, this is a wonderful diversion–too bad I can’t find any more information (or any more bottles)! Very Good. 89 Points.
2014 B Kosuge Chardonnay Sonoma Coast, CA: Retail $40. Byron Kosuge is best known, without a doubt, for his Pinot Noir–he has been making various iterations of it for decades. But. My tasting note from just over three years ago poses the same question I have today: Every time I taste Byron Kosuge’s Chardonnay, I wonder why he only makes one a year: pale straw with a slightly golden tinge, plenty of lemon curd, melon, and vanilla on the nose. Luscious fruit on the palate as well with near perfect acidity that delivers an extra tang on the finish. Byron, why don’t you make more Chardonnay? Excellent. 92 Points.
NV Champagne Pierre Legras Champagne Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut, France: Retail $50. 100% Chardonnay. I bought a case of this wine from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) shortly before I left Pennsylvania for the Lone Star State. This, I am sad to report, is the last bottle from that case and it did not disappoint. A brilliant light straw in the glass with lemon curd, fresh peach, Bosc pear, and yeasty notes on the nose. The palate is simply delightful: yeasty, citrus, pear, all kinds of fantasticalness going on. Usually, I am one to eschew Blanc de Blancs but put a bit of age on that puppy? Holy Cow. And really close to a Whoa. Excellent. 92 Points.
2012 Mezzacorona Teroldego Rotaliano Castel Firmian Riserva, Trentino, Italy: Retail $15. 100% Teroldego Rotaliano. I bought this back in 2016 at the winery, which I believe was my first international press trip (although I could be mistaken). If you have never been to the Trentino wine region in Northern Italy, it is a bucket-list kind of place—I need to get back there. As for the wine, Teroldego is a relative of Syrah and in Trentino it finds its apogee. Trellised in pergola, within sight of the mighty Dolomiti, this large berry, slightly thick-skinned variety needs more love. Big, juicy, structured, and even (slightly) tannic, this wonderful wine from the cooperative Mezzacorona is straight-up delicious. Fruity from the jump but balanced with tight acidity and just a hint of grip, I love this wine and wish I had bought more. Excellent. 91 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: This does not happen often. In fact, I could not find an instance when it happened ever (although I did not look that hard). Yes, this week’s Wine of the Week is actually the second lowest scoring wine over the last seven days. But. Considering I only paid $7.50 for this bottle–it was on sale for 50% off at my H-E-B (I love my H-E-B), it was a no-brainer. I am really into no-brainers these days as most of my brain is consumed by other, unfortunately, mundane concerns. Hopefully, I will get my second shot tomorrow and breathe a little easier through my double mask.
What was your Wine of the Week?