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 André Clouet Champagne Rose No. 3, France: Retail $50. 100% Pinot Noir (10% Bouzy rouge added to the vin clair). This wine, our fifth bottle so far, far somewhere in between what had been the rather polar opposites. It is not quite as overly fruity as two of the bottles had been, nor is it quite as rich and layered as the other two. There are good flavors here, all held in check by the mouth-watering acidity but there is also a metallic aspect to this bottle which, while not off-putting, it certainly detracts a bit from the experience as a whole. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a delightful bottle of champagne, but it is certainly in between the other previous extremes. Excellent. 91 Points.
2018 Tongue Dancer Chardonnay Pratt Vineyard, Russian River Valley, CA: Retail $42. About a year ago, I received a bottle of this wine as a sample from Kerry and James MacPhail and I was mesmerized. Sure, there was fruit, but oh so much more. What I wrote then: “Light in color, but rich in aromas of lemon curd, Bosc pear, and vanilla, on the palate this wine is reminiscent of a Grand or Premier Cru Montrachet. This is a study in tension. Sure, it is rich, luscious, and decadent, but it is also subtle, nuanced, and balanced. While this wine is certainly gorgeous now, I feel that I opened it far too soon and it could easily go another 5-8 years, no problem.” I liked the wine so much, in fact, that I bought a bunch of it. I tried to hold off a bit longer, knowing that this wine would only get better but I just couldn’t take it any more. Whoa. Yeah. OK. Let’s up that sheet a notch. All what I wrote previously and more. Sure, James MacPhail sees himself as a Pinot whisperer (I think), but clearly Chardonnay should be added to the list of varieties that he can transform into magic in a bottle. Outstanding. 96 Points.
NV Gallimard Père et Fils Champagne Grande Réserve Chardonnay, France: Retail $50. 100% Chardonnay. I was away–off to Austin with my older son, visiting the city and campus. My wife had guests. Why? Good question. Who? Better question. I have no no good answers to either question. Luckily, she saved me a glass. Good thing–this might just be the best bottle of this wine thus far. Yeast, lemon, pear, wet rock. This has a wonderful nose and an even (slightly) better palate: tart, fruity, layered. This wine has (slightly) befuddled me with its bottle variation, but this bottle is so fantastic right now I don’t care. In the slightest. Excellent. 92 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. 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. 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.
2016 Petit Moulin Bandol Les Galets Rosés, France: Retail $21. 60% Mourvèdre, 30% Cinsault, 10% Grenache. Nomacorc closure. I bought six of these back in 2107 and drank the first three within a year. The fourth was roughly a year ago, in May 2020. This fifth bottle has evolved, as it is much more vinous than it was even last year. Sure, it is still fruity, but that strawberry and watermelon fruit is more subdued replaced by a bit of oxidation (probably due to the crappy “cork” closure), a bit of glycerin, and quite a bit more weight. While this has definitely transformed, it is still completely delightful. Excellent. 90 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Over the past (nearly) ten years of receiving wines to sample for this blog, there have been very few that I have tasted that I have ended up purchasing for my own cellar. In fact, I would hazard to guess that I could count those wines on two hands (probably one hand, but my memory is not what it once was). I do know that three of those wines were purchased at the same time from the same winery. One, the 2018 Tongue Dancer Chardonnay Pratt Vineyard, is this week’s Wine of the Week. I just saw the dynamic duo of Kerry and James MacPhail of Tongue Dancer just over a week ago and they are as fun and personable as they have ever been. Look for a lot more from them in this space, hopefully soon.
What was your Wine of the Week?