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).
2011 Bokisch Vineyards Garnacha Terra Alta Vineyard, Lodi, CA: Retail $30. 95%+ Grenache. I got a few of these bottles from Last Bottle a half dozen years ago, and they have all been stellar. Even this bottle, nearly a decade out, is bright and lively, fresh and fruity. I have stated numerous times that I have a man-crush on Markus Bokisch, but that does not jade my views on his wines. But, um, yeah, this is fabulous. Like in a Holy Cow kinda way. Medium color, rich fruit aromas (black cherry, cranberry), and plenty of chutzpah on the nose. Yowza. The palate exceeds those expectations with fresh, bright fruit, earth, intense tartness, and some slight tannins on the finish. Yeah, this is gangbusters. Outstanding. 93 Points.
NV Duval-Leroy Champagne Brut Réserve, France: Retail $50. 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay. From LastBottleWines.com. I bought a case of this wine from the aforementioned Last Bottle taste unseen, only based on the Premier Cru wines from the house. This NV Brut has been a mixed bag. The first bottle was phenomenal. Subsequent bottles were lacking, some more than others, but, well, meh. This bottle, however? Is a return to that first bottle. With a caveat: I just (?) realized that these bottles are fairly old. Upon extraction of the cork, it did not expand much at all even three hours later–a sign that the cork has been in there quite a while (why no disgorgement info, Duval-Leroy??). The nose underscores my assertion: yeasty goodness abounds from this slightly golden elixir along with citrus notes and, well, verve. Yowza. The palate is much of the same, but it comes off a tad sweet (I could not find the residual sugar data), but it works with that almost sherried baked bread component and the nearly over-riding acidity. Close to a Whoa. Excellent. 92 Points.
2018 Joseph Mellot Sancerre La Demoiselle Rosé, France: Retail $24. 100% Pinot Noir. There are few words that will get me salivating like “Sancerre.” For me, it is the best place in the world for Sauvignon Blanc (and second place is not even close) and the reds (which are considerably rarer) are made from Pinot Noir–perhaps my go-to red variety. The reds from Sancerre account for 10-11% annually and are quite earthy and verge on austere, but are incredibly compelling (at least those that I have tried). Rosé is slightly rarer still (just under 10% of production) and are also made from Pinot. These tend to be fruitier than their darker siblings and are typically delicious. This bottle? Yowza. Sure, it is approaching its third anniversary, but it is still very fruity (strawberry, lemon, cranberry), zesty (the acidity here is off the charts), and loaded with layers of body. If you have given the rosés of Provence a try (which I love as well) but found them a little lacking in either fruit or panache (but still want to be fancy and drink French pink), opt for a Sancerre. If, that is, you can find any. Excellent. 91 Points.
NV Moutard Père et Fils Champagne Rose de Cuvaison, France: Retail $45. 100% Pinot Noir. Disgorged May/2013. Last of the bottles that I purchased from Wines Til Sold Out in 2013. Despite my countless trips to and through Champagne, I have never been to the Côte des Bar, which lies to the south and west of the better known Montagne de Reims and the Côte des Blancs. Traditionally viewed as a “lesser” region when compared to its famed siblings, the Aube (where the Côte des Bar is located) is becoming an increasingly prominent sub-region in Champagne, now producing roughly a quarter of all bottles from the world’s premier sparkling wine producer. This wine is dark and could be easily confused as a red. The fruit is also dark; more raspberry than strawberry. The palate is also weighty with ripe fruit and ample acidity, but perhaps a tad too much dosage (10 gr/l). Still, a wonderful quaff, which has held up quite nicely (the last bottle I had was four years ago). Very Good. 89 Points.
2011 Baglio di Pianetto Sicilia Cembali, Italy: Retail $28. 100% Nero d’Avola. We were about to watch the Stanley Tucci episode on Sicily and I had an epiphany: drink a Sicilian wine while glued to the tube (I know–I am an exceedingly original son of a biscuit maker). She agreed and we were on our way, she was looking very good and so was I, I must say – word. I popped the cork and almost instantly this wine began to sing: dark (almost brooding) and exhibiting considerable fruit, this was clearly fruity and I knew from the first taste, we were all in. Fruity, but in a rustic sort of way with dark and red berry fruit (on the verge of stewed). On the palate, the ample, but plentiful, fruit takes a backseat to the driving acidity and multiple levels of complexity. Yowza. Excellent. 92 Points.
NV Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut, France: Retail $50. 50-55% Pinot Noir, 28-33% Chardonnay, 15-20% Pinot Meunier. Another bottle, another excellent wine. What can I say that I have not already said about this wine? How’s the weather??Excellent. 91 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: By any measure, any of the wines this week could have walked off with the much-coveted Wine of the Week (well, except for the Moutard Rosé Champagne—that was a bit of a disappointment, I have to say). I ended up opting for the 2018 Joseph Mellot Sancerre La Demoiselle Rosé for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it is a Sancerre, which is perhaps my favorite wine town in the Loire Valley (although Chinon…). I have not spent much time there (it is a bit out of the way), but it is a beautiful spot and produces wonderful wines (Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir). Another reason? It is starting to heat up in Houston, which means “rosé season.” I think that sentiment is rather idiotic since we should be drinking rosé all year round, but I have been swimming against that tide for what seems like forever now. Last, this 2018 rosé supports my contention that well-made True Rosé (pink wines that are made intentionally, that is not saignées) can and do age gracefully.
What was your Wine of the Week?