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 Gruet Winery Cuvée 89 Rosé, New Mexico: Retail $20. Varietal blend? This was on sale for under twelve bucks (when you buy at least six bottles), so I gladly took a flyer. Really fantastic strawberry and cherry fruit on both the nose and the palate with a lovely sparkle, plenty of tartness, and an above-average finish. Under $12? Uh, yeah, gonna grab me some more, for sure. Very Good. 89 Points.
2005 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Cornas Les Grandes Terrasses, France: Retail $60. 100% Syrah. Another wine that I have had for quite a while, and this was the first bottle I have cracked. I might have waited too long (which does not bode well for the other two bottles). Stewed red and black fruit dominate, which is not great, since little else is evident (maybe some white and black pepper). The palate is perfectly fine, even close to excellent, it’s just a bit, well, old. Very Good. 88 Points.
2013 Mailly Champagne Grand Cru L’Intemporelle, France: Retail $130. 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay. A dear friend was over and it was his birthday and since we share a friend who is now the director of Mailly Grand Cru, this seemed appropriate. Quite pale salmon in the glass with red delicious apple, white peach, fresh white flower, and a racy minerality. The palate is, well, lovely, with fantastic fruit, a racy acidity, and finesse that is buoyed by the fine sparkle. Fantastic. Outstanding. 93 Points.
2020 Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio Trentino, Italy: Retail $12. Under screwcap. Purchased at H-E-B for under $8. There are few still wines that I will buy before tasting the vintage in question. There are still fewer wines that I will buy multiple bottles of, untasted. And this wine is perhaps a unicorn: a wine that I will buy multiple bottles of, untasted, because I want, even need, to have around just in case. This bottle is again fantastic—bright peach, pear, and even some tropical notes on the nose, the palate is wonderfully balanced with oodles of fruit and mouth-watering acidity, but it’s the finish, which is both long and flavorful, that is the most remarkable aspect of this wine. Just a delight every time. Excellent. 90 Points.
2015 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée des Cadettes, France: Retail $175. 35% Grenache, 33% Mourvedre, and 32% Syrah. Whoa. It was a La Nerthe-fest with countless bottles of wines from the oldest producer in Châteauneuf-du-Pape (1560). We decanted this wine a bit, and after about an hour? Holy Mother of Jesus, our Savior. Look, I am not religious *at all* but this effing wine? It makes me want to believe in a higher being. Like. A lot. Rich, spicy fruit on the nose with loads of black and red fruit. Whoa. The acidity jumps in at the finish and, Whoa. Outstanding. 95 Points.
NV Pierre Paillard Champagne Grand Cru Brut Bouzy, France: Retail $45. 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay. While this is not my favorite producer in Champagne with the name “Paillard” attached to it, it is a Grand Cru from my favorite town in the region, Bouzy. It has been an amazing four years since I last opened a bottle of this wine, but it is doing quite well, thank you very much. Bright green apple with some white peach as well, buoyed by some fresh biscuity notes on the nose. The palate is balanced with that fruit, the yeasty goodness, and an intense tartness. Really close to a Whoa. Really close. Excellent. 92 Points.
2006 Domaine Tempier Bandol, France: Retail $50. 100% (?) Mourvèdre. Few, I would guess, would argue that Domaine Tempier rests at (or at least near) the top producers in Bandol. I purchased two bottles of this wine over a decade ago and essentially forgot about them until now. Oops. Really dark in the glass, and just a bit stewed, the dark fruit (cassis, plum, blackberry) dominates, but there is also earth and depth. The palate is lovely, with subtle fruit, a bit of black earth, and wonderful acidity and balance. Yowza. Excellent. 92 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Usually, this spot is reserved for the “best” wine of the week, a wine that clearly stood above the rest in terms of quality. This week, however, I decided to take another path and celebrate a wine that is a game-changer in another respect. We drink a ton of sparkling wine in this house, I would guess we average popping close to a bottle of bubbles a day. While I have never made it a secret that I think that Champagne is the top wine region in the world, producing without a doubt my favorite wines, it is simply not financially feasible to pop a bottle of champagne every time we need a little sparkle in our lives. Thus, this week’s Wine of the Week, the Gruet Winery Cuvée 89 Rosé from New Mexico, is a welcomed addition to our bubbly repertoire. It’s a fantastic quaff that is quite easy on the wallet.
What was/were your Wine(s) of the Week?