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).
2014 De Loach Chardonnay Estate Collection Russian River Valley, CA: Retail $65. While I have not had a ton of wines from Deloach, I do know that the house was acquired by the Boisset Collection in 2003, making this (one of?) the first American purchases by Jean-Charles. While I purchased this wine with (already) seven years of age since vintage, it does not show its age nearly at all. Sure, it is close to a golden color in the glass but the lemon-curd, vanilla, and (only slightly) oaky nose suggests otherwise. The palate is perhaps even more inviting with said lemon-curd, a surprisingly bracing acidity, and impressive (and lengthy) finish. Yowza. And just short of a Whoa. Excellent. 92 Points.
2016 E. Guigal St. Joseph, France: Retail $32. 100% Syrah. When I saw this wine, from perhaps the leading producer in the Rhône Valley, on sale at my local H-E-B grocery store for twenty bucks, I thought I would give it a shot. Initially, upon opening, it was quite Bretty and as such, pretty quickly turned off my wife. Sure, there were the characteristic subtle, stewed red fruits that characterize the region, but that barnyard-y aspect was hard to dismiss. On Day Two, much of that animal-dung aspect had dissipated, leaving very subtle red fruit, hints of earth, and a decided astringency on the nose. The palate (again, on the second day) was *quite* different. Sure, the fruit was a bit muted, but this was a much richer, fuller wine, with fantastic acidity and intense, drying tannins. While 2016 might have been over-shadowed by 2015, this wine, particularly after 24 hours plus open, is fantastic. Excellent. 91 Points.
2013 Left Coast Estate Blanc de Noir Sparkling, Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $55. 100% Pinot Noir. As I find is often the case with well-made sparkling wine, it continues to evolve in the bottle, often improving. Two years ago, and even as recently as this past December, I found this wine quite tart, even overly so. Now? Sure, it is still laden with zingy fruit (tart apple, pear), but a bit of the yeastiness is now popping its head out, wanting to be noticed. Still, austere and brazen, but the added autolytic component has elevated this wine. It is already eight years old, but I feel it will continue to improve for some time. Excellent. 92 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. I was making Wienerschnitzel and sous-vide garlic mashed potatoes for the first time, so naturally I wanted a rosé champagne (makes sense to me). I purchased this about six months ago for roughly half the retail from my local H-E-B and could not be happier. Great red fruit, vibrant sparkle, zingy acidity, and a bit of that yeasty yumminess in champagne that I’ve been addicted to for some time now. Yeah. Happy spot. Excellent. 91 Points.
2019 Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé, France: Retail $25. Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, Rolle. It has been a minute since I have opened a bottle of this wine, but here is what I wrote back in June, 2020, during full-on lockdown: “Another fantastic vintage of Miraval: quite light in the glass with a pinkish-peach hue and aromas of delicate red berries and white flowers. The palate is pure Provence with great fruit, fantastic acidity, and quite a bit of depth.” All of that remains true nine months later, underscoring, perhaps, that True Rosé can age gracefully, at least in the short-term. Excellent. 91 Points.
2019 Domaine de la Perrière Sancerre, France: Retail $32. 100% Sauvignon Blanc. Under cork. I have stated my general disdain for Sauvignon Blanc in this space countless times. Said lament is usually followed by my a statement professing my unabashed love for Sancerre (which, of course, is made with SB). Thus, when I saw this bottle on sale at my local H-E-B for twenty bucks, I had to buy it despite a lack of familiarity with the producer. While it is not the *best* Sancerre I’ve ever tried, it certainly scratches that itch. Plenty of citrus and a chalky minerality on the nose lead to a close to bracing acidity on the palate, which is balanced by lovely fruit. No fresh cut grass, no cat pee, no overblown tropical notes. Tell me again why more winemakers in the New World are not at least *trying* to emulate Sancerre? Excellent. 90 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: There are times when choosing the Wine of the Week is a bit of a crap shoot and then there are instances when the best wine of the week is an obvious choice. This week was certainly the latter. It was also a bit of a surprise since the two previous times I tired the wine it was quite good but the third time, well, proved to be the charm as the cliché goes. This week’s Wine of the Week, the 2013 Left Coast Estate Blanc de Noir Sparkling, certainly checked all the boxes. And when paired with my fried catfish tacos? Well….
What was your Wine of the Week?