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).
2013 Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune 1er Cru Beaune du Château Blanc, Burgundy, France: Retail $45. 100% Chardonnay. Based on my notes, my wife bought this wine shortly after we moved to Houston and all of our wine was in cold storage until our house was built and the cellar was finished. Somehow, some way, this wine survived until now. And, on the eve of Father’s Day, I decided to pop it since, well, Father’s Day Eve (for all of the fathers out there I am seriously trying to make this a thing). I was also terrified about “premox” or premature oxidation–a malady that strikes far too many white Burgundies and has decimated my own white Burg “collection.” Well, no worries here, light straw in color, lovely aroma of lemon curd, white peach, and a touch of white pepper. On the palate? Whoa. Delicate fruit, gripping tanginess, layers of flavor, and a bit of spice, particularly on the lengthy finish. This is the first white Burgundy I have had in a while and it is particularly fantastic. Outstanding. 93 Points.
NV Paul Dethune Champagne Grand Cru Nature Ambonnay, France: Retail $60. 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay. This Grand Cru beauty comes from a relatively small grower/producer in Ambonnay, one of the storied villages on the Montagne de Reims. I have never visited but based solely on this wine that I got from Last Bottle, it is going to have to be on my agenda on my next trip to Champagne. A Grand Cru from the legendary town of Ambonnay? Yowza. And Whoa. A bit of dark amber in the glass, with yeasty, toasty aromas. Yum. The palate is more of the same: a bit of fruit, yes, but this is more baked goods, more brioche, more croissant. Whoa. Oops, I already said that. Outstanding. 93 Points.
NV Gallimard Père et Fils Champagne Grande Réserve Chardonnay, France: Retail $50. 100% Chardonnay. Another solid bottle, but also another slight deviation from the last bottle. While most of the positive attributes from the previous iteration (which I purchased from www.lastbottlewines.com ), it also has that metallic aspect from an earlier bottle that we tried. Thus, this lies somewhere in the middle. Granted, there is not a huge range, but there is some variance, nonetheless. Excellent. 91 Points.
2019 Scribe Pinot Noir Nouveau, Carneros, CA: Retail $32. I really have no idea how I came across this bottle, so I am assuming that it was sent to me as a sample, but who knows? It seems as though carbonic maceration (think Beaujolais) is becoming a bit of a “thing” these days, but this might be the first Pinot that I have tried made this way. Light in the glass but fruity, earthy, and fresh on the nose with tons of red berry fruit. The palate is clean, precise, focussed, and fruity, really fruity. I was set not to like this wine, but it really is a lovely quaff. Pro tip: Plop it in the fridge for 15 mins before drinking. Excellent. 91 Points.
MV Bruno Paillard Champagne Extra Brut Premiere Cuvée, France: Retail $65. 45% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay, 22% Pinot Meunier, part of which (20%) was in barrel for the first fermentation. Disgorged October, 2019. With 6 g/l of dosage, this is certainly nearly a Brut, and definitely fantastic. I had been a fan of the house long before I met Alice Paillard, daughter of Bruno and current CEO of the winery, but my interactions with Alice have only served to elevate my view of the brand. Loads of yellow apple, white peach, yeasty loveliness, and verve, plenty of verve. The palate is much of the same, but the yeasty nuttiness is much more pronounced and endures well through the finish, which is lengthy and luscious. For the price? This is really tough to beat. Outstanding. 93 Points.
MV Bruno Paillard Champagne Brut Premiere Cuvée, France: Retail $65. Disgorged December, 2009. 45% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay, 22% Pinot Meunier, 20% fermented in oak. We opened this bottle shortly after draining a bottle that had been disgorged a full decade later (2019 for those mathematically challenged). While many in Champagne will try to convince you that non-vintage Brut (or in this case, multi-vintage) will not improve in the bottle after release. I say “Poppycock.” Wow, what a difference. Toastier and even yeastier with a roasted chestnut aspect. Creamier, richer, with a smokiness that was not present in the younger wine. This is gangbusters. Outstanding. 94 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Looking over the notes from this week, it is abundantly clear that we drink a lot of champagne. Why? Why not? Not only is it fantastic on its own, it is also the most versatile wine when it comes to food pairings. From oysters to prime rib, there really is not another wine that can make it all work. I have long contested that the fine people in Champagne did themselves a disservice by marketing their glorious wine as the choice for celebrations since many in this country now believe there needs to be a special occasion to open a bottle of bubbles. Nope. Not at all. Well, unless you count “Tuesday” (or “Thursday”) as a “special” occasion. And what better cure for the mundane than a bottle of MV Bruno Paillard Champagne Brut Premiere Cuvée, this week’s Wine of the Week, with an additional decade of age on it? (How this lasted in my cellar unopened all that time is a very good question, maybe I should go digging for some more hidden gems….)
What was/were your Wine(s) of the Week?