What We Have Been Drinking—12/6/2021

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).

2010 Amelle Pinot Noir La Cruz Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, CA: Retail $50. I am getting down to the very last bottles of this wine that I have thoroughly enjoyed over the last half-dozen years or so. That is a sad thing since the winery has long since closed shop and the winemaker retired from the business entirely. [Sob.] Incredible red berry fruit, a bit of anise, and black pepper on the nose. The palate is still light and lively with great fruit and depth. Although doing well, you should probably get to this in the next handful of years. Outstanding. 93 Points.

NV L. Aubry Fils Champagne Premier Cru Brut, France: Retail $50. Disgorged 2019. 35% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay, 5% Arbanne, Petit Meslier, and Fromenteau. I have always been a fan of this wine and when I saw this on sale at Central Market for $40 (plus another 10% with the purchase of six bottles), I jumped. Pale to yellow straw in the glass with baked apple and peach, plenty of baked croissant, and even some subtle red fruit on the nose. The palate is tart, vibrant, fruity, and delicious with a unifying acidity and plenty of length. Wonderful. Outstanding. 93 Points.

NV Gruet Winery Brut Rosé, New Mexico: Retail $18. 100% Pinot Noir. You know it is really difficult to find a better value in sparkling wine these days than Gruet. When you add rosé to the equation, it serves as a multiplier. I picked this up on sale for under $13, and that is just ridiculous: red berry and even some Twizzlers on the nose with a solid sparkle. On the palate, simply tasty with some tart cherry and a bit of minerality, this really is a fine bottle of bubbles, regardless of the price. Very Good. 89 Points.

NV Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Essentiel Cuvée Reservée, France: Retail $50. 47% Pinot Noir, 31% Pinot Meunier, 22% Chardonnay. 18% Reserve wines. Extra Brut (5% dosage). I saw this at my local grocery store for the first time this past week and jumped right in (it was on sale for $35). This was introduced back in 2017 as a drier alternative to the standard Brut. Citrusy and yeasty on the nose, certainly well within the standard for a quality champagne. The palate is fantastic with good fruit, a fine sparkle, and plenty of freshly baked bread. Just the right amount of dosage–I doubt will ever go back to the standard Brut, one of my all-time faves, as long as this is available. Outstanding. 93 Points.

NV Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut, France: Retail $50. 50-55% Pinot Noir, 28-33% Chardonnay, 15-20% Pinot Meunier. We drink a ton of the good Veuve and it almost always delivers. As I have said countless times, the good old Veuve catches more than her fair share of shade. While some of it is deserved, perhaps (the darling of the millennials, produced in mass quantities, owned by a huge conglomerate), there is really no denying that it is a solid Champers: baked pear, lemon, and brioche with a solid tartness and even considerable depth. Sure, this is not a bottle of “grower champagne” but that whole concept is over-played, in my opinion, by a bunch of people in tight pants, questionable facial hair, and likely a man-bun who claim they have the answers to all of society’s problems. Listen, this will likely not change the trajectory of your life, nor alter your view on the human existence, but it is a solid sparkler. Overpriced? Perhaps. But so are those skinny jeans you think are so fashionable. Excellent. 91 Points. 

WINE OF THE WEEK: This week, I decided to deviate from my normal Wine of the Week portion of this post for a couple of reasons. First, as many of you no doubt already know from my social media posts these past few days, I am in Paris for the week for the funeral of a very dear friend. Second, I have been charged by my friend’s wife (another dear friend) to organize and catalogue my friend’s wine “cellar” which is located in four different places (but locally within at most a short walk or a few flights of stairs). Third, I realized as I was writing this post that I did not have any photos of the above listed wines. Thus, the picture above is the wine that I opened last night. When I opened it, I really had no idea what it was as the label was almost completely gone. Well, that is not entirely true. I found the bottle among several Bordeaux and Burgundy wines so I was 95% sure that it was a Burgundy, based on the shape of the bottle. Next, I was fairly certain that it was from one of the appellations around Beaune (in the center of Burgundy) since the few letters that are legible on the remaining label “Bea” seem to suggest that. Upon opening? It was pretty clear that it was a Burgundy and while it was certainly past its prime drinking window, it was pretty darned good. Still a lot of work to do with the cellar, but it was good to crack a bottle that my friend and I would have no doubt enjoyed immensely together.

 What was/were your Wine(s) of the Week?




About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Champagne, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sparkling Wine, Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

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