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 is officially the sixth bottle of this wine I have tried, and although it has been all over the board a bit, this wine is certainly near the top of that spectrum. Rich color, rich red berry fruit aromas, a touch of white flower, and just a hint of yeastiness. On the palate, this really is a quintessential rosé from Champagne: fruity, tart, just a bit of freshly baked croissant. Yeah. Yowza. Excellent. 92 Points.
2017 Cave d’Esclans Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence, France: Retail $25. Grenache, Cinsault, Rolle. Here is what I wrote last year: “For a number of years now, I have been a fan of Château d’Esclans and Whispering Angel. I’ve also been of the opinion that this True Rosé (i.e., NOT a saignée) has the ability to age, not indefinitely, of course, but certainly for at least a few years. This 2.5-year-old beauty has turned much more floral than fruity on the nose. The fruit is still there in droves on the palate, though, with minerality and salinity. Wonderful. Perhaps better than last year.” I stand by every word of that (and it may even be better yet). Excellent. 92 Points.
2018 Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio, Trentino, Italy: Retail $8. Under screw cap. A few years ago, I was the guest of Mezzacorona in Trentino on a press trip. I would like to think that the visit has no effect on what I am about to say, but I stand by it 100%. This is the single wine that I have ever had that has the highest quality to price ratio (i.e., “biggest bang for the buck”). Before you start rolling your eyes, consider the following: I really do not like Italian Pinot Grigio. At. All. Sure, there have been exceptions, but those were a heck of a lot more expensive than this wine. A. Lot. Trust me: the first time I found this on sale at the H.E.B. here in Houston for $6.93 (plus tax), I bought a case. And I regret that I did not buy more. Lemon and a touch of grassiness, this is an acid-lovers best friend and a fruit-lovers dream. Really. Mezzacorona’s “Cliffhanger” wine is twice the price as this bottom shelf dweller, but don’t be fooled, this $8 wine delivers well above both price points. I have made this my house white. And I really hate Pinot Grigio. No joke. The last time I saw my Mezzacorona friends, they indicated that they were taking my advice and they were going to raise the price to around $12-15 a bottle. While I was initially flattered that they listened to me, I also realized that one of the best sub-$10/bottle wines was about to come close to doubling in price. I felt bad. Even really bad. But the price has not gone up yet, so go getcha some. Very Good. 89 Points.
2019 Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé, France: Retail $25. Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, Rolle. It is perhaps not “cool” to like this wine given that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are (still) part owners of this winery, but the other half is owned by the Perrin family and they more than know their way around the block (understatement of the year?). I wrote this a year ago: “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.
NV Mumm Napa Brut Rosé, Napa Valley, CA: Retail $24. 80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay. We have had a ton of this wine (it is pretty much our go-to when the in-laws come over) and while we can often find it at below $15, it punches well above its weight. I thought I would be able to pick this out fairly easily when I inserted it among seven other rosés from Champagne, but, honestly, I couldn’t. Good pink color with a bit of orange. A bit closed on the nose, but fruity on the palate and a tad sweet. Very Good. 89 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Even though it still has not reached the “really hot” stage of the year down here in Houston, looking back over the wines we pulled from the cellar this week, it looks like we are in full-fledged summer drinking mode. And while we drink rosé year round (yes, I know it is pretty much summer all year in Houston, but we drank tons of rosé during those harsh Philly winters, too), for many people, this is the time of year that the pink wines start flowing. For that reason, as well as the fact that I think it is an outstanding wine even nearly four years after the vintage (which supports my contention that True Rosé can age well), the 2017 Cave d’Esclans Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence is this week’s Wine of the Week.
What was your Wine of the Week?