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).
22014 De Loach Chardonnay Estate Collection Russian River Valley, CA: Retail $65. B.A.B. 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.
NV Egly-Ouriet Champagne Grand Cru Brut Tradition, France: Retail $80. 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, 100% Grand Cru. I bought these from a guy in Philly, before we moved, who proved to be a complete jack-donkey (if you know what I mean). He proved it on several occasions, but I had already paid him for these wines (which were being shipped from France), so I had to put up with the guy for much longer than I would normally. Perhaps that is why I waited five and a half years before opening the first of the six bottles I bought. A bit dark in the glass with lemon and peach, honey, and freshly baked bread. Whoa. The palate has hints of fruit, but immediately gives way to yeastiness: brioche, bread, croissant. Whoa. Round and refined, yet tart and refreshing. Whoa. It almost makes me forget what I had to go through, wait, what was I saying? Outstanding. 95 Points.
2019 Far Niente Chardonnay, Napa Valley, CA: Retail $70. Under cork. B.A.B. Tonight, to kickoff our 20th Anniversary week, we went to a new (to us) restaurant, just a few miles away, that encourages patrons to bring their own bottle of wine. The curious twist, however, is that they also have a small but fabulous wine list with the bottles at extremely reasonable prices. Like this Far Niente Chard: $49. Whaaa? Less than what is offered on the Far Niente website? By twenty bucks? OK, I’ll play your little game. Giddy-up. More golden than straw in color with boatloads of lemon curd, and touches of vanilla and whit pepper on the nose. Opulent, rich, even unctuous on the palate, but not in the “traditional” Cali Chard kind of way. No, this is more to the Burgundian style of Chard (while style celebrating its California heritage), and oh, so good. I wonder if this restaurant will sell me the wine for $49 at retail? Cheaper than I can find it…. Outstanding. 94 Points.
NV Mailly Champagne Grand Cru Brut Rosé, France: Retail $50. 90% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay. Okay. I am going to try to be objective here but we named our dog “Mailly Grand Cru Rosé,” “Mailly” for short. So I have some bias. But objectively, this is fantastic. Deep pink color, one of the darker rosé champagnes on the market. Lovely, rich nose of strawberry, cherry, croissant, and a slight mineral aspect. The palate is laden with fruit, plenty of tartness, and considerable verve. Yowza. Yes, I am a fan of this brand and this wine, but there is a reason: it’s damned good. Whoa. Outstanding. 93 Points.
NV Taittinger Champagne Brut Réserve / La Française, France: Retail $50. 40% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, 25% Pinot Meunier. This is currently available for $39.50 at what is likely our new favorite restaurant, Porta’Vino, here in Houston. We went there, along with our 13 year-old and my wife’s parents to celebrate his birthday and our 20th wedding anniversary. Pale straw in the glass with all kinds of yeasty goodness obscuring the pear and golden apple fruit (with a twist of lemon rind) on the nose. Lovely. The palate is equally stellar with an instant burst of acidity, then a wave of the aforementioned fruits, and a delicate, persistent sparkle. Excellent. 90 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: All the wines this week came in at “Excellent” or “Outstanding” so there are a lot to chose from when selecting the Wine of the Week. As is quite common, our week in wine included several bottles of champagne and, also not uncommon, the top wine came from my personal favorite wine region in France (sorry, Burgundy and Alsace, I love you, too, but Champagne has you both beat, I am afraid). And the best of the three champagnes this week was easily the Egly-Ouriet Champagne Grand Cru Brut Tradition, a wine that I have had for a while (about seven years or so) and has thus taken on that older champagne vibe that I love so much.
What was/were your Wine(s) of the Week?