What We Have Been Drinking—1/17/2022

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 L. Aubry Fils Champagne Premier Cru Brut, France: Retail $50. Disgorged?? 35% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay, 5% Arbanne, Petit Meslier, and Fromenteau. Unfortunately, there is no disgorgement date on the bottle, so I can not be sure of which “batch” this is. Golden in the glass with a decided “older champagne” vibe to it; lemon curd and green apple dominate the nose with caramel croissant along for the ride. The palate is tart and delicious with plenty of fruit as well as a healthy handful of yeasty goodness. Bravo. Excellent. 91 Points. 

NV Drappier Champagne Carte d’Or Brut, France: Retail $50. 75% Pinot Noir, 15% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Meunier. While most of what I said in my note from two years ago (almost) still holds true (“more nutty than fruity, with plenty of baked-in yeastiness in the slightly golden wine, a fervent sparkle, and a muscular mouthfeel”), I am less enamored with this wine tonight. Sure, there is good fruit on the nose and palate, and sure there is a ton of yeasty goodness, but as a whole, it seems a bit disjointed and out of whack. Still, champagne and still quite tasty, just not where I had hoped it would be. Very Good. 88 Points.

NV Drappier Champagne Rosé de Saignée Brut, France: Retail $70. 100% Pinot Noir. Made by the saignée method where the juice is bled off of the skins after a period of contact, imparting the rosé color. Fairly dark in the glass for a rosé champagne with lovely cherry, citrus, and yeasty aromas. On the palate, this is a delight as well, with juicy fruit, a high level of tartness, and a long, bright finish. While this is not a “bargain” champagne, it is a fine rendition of the genre. Excellent. 92 Points.

NV Gallimard Père et Fils Champagne Grande Réserve Chardonnay, France: Retail $50. 100% Chardonnay. A bit golden in the glass, suggesting a bit of age on this non-vintage Blanc de Blancs with loads of baked Granny Smith apple pie with a lovely yeasty, flaky crust. The palate is quite nice as well with a lip-smacking tartness to go along with all that freshly-baked apple pie goodness. I have said dozens of times that I am not a fan of the Blanc de Blancs style, but when it has a bit of age on it (like it seems this bottle does), the body intensifies while the elegance remains. A winning combo in my book. Excellent. 92 Points.

2019 Kendall-Jackson Pinot Noir Vintner’s Reserve, California: Retail $15. I have tasted this wine countless times, over several vintages and it is amazingly consistent. Yes, it is pretty fruity, and yes, it is produced by one of the largest wine conglomerations in the country, but neither of those facts makes it a bad wine. In fact, I have tasted other vintages of this blind with scores of other American Pinots, and it *always* holds its own. Would I buy it? Probably not given my Pinot-snob status, but…

Dark cherry fruit, slightly meaty, just a dash of dark soil, and maybe some rose petal highlight the nose. The palate is laden with fruit–this is not shy or understated–but the acidity works hard to keep that fruit in check. Very Good. 89 Points.

2009 Purple Star Syrah Silver Star, Columbia Valley, WA: Retail $50(?). Under cork. 100% Syrah. I am pretty sure I picked this up on my first trip to the winery a half a dozen years ago or so, but my notes on this bottle are a little sketchy. What is certain, however, is that Kyle and Amy Johnson knocked it out of the park with this wine. A dark, almost inky, plum-garnet color, with incredible aromas of blackberry, cassis, raspberry, Christmas spice, and vanilla. The palate, if possible, was even more inviting with an incredibly rich mouthfeel, expressive but measured fruit, a near-perfect level of tartness, and an extremely long finish. Whoa. Outstanding. 95 Points.

2018 Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Vineyards, Alexander Valley, CA: Retail $30. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. While the retail is at $30, I found this for a bit lower than $20 at my H.E.B. (I love my H.E.B.). I picked this up for a tasting that I was hosting for my wife’s co-workers on Zoom. Why this wine? Well, it is pretty widely available and it is almost always stellar (I say “almost” even though it has *always* been stellar for me). Dark red fruit (blackberry, cassis, plum), cedar, mocha, and the slightest hint of green pepper (which I love), The palate is fruity up front, followed on the mid-palate by some earth, dried fig, and depth. Yowza. My boy Rodney (he actually sold the winery in 1989 and died in 2006, long before I would have had the chance to meet him) never disappoints–the wines dance across the tongue like few others. Excellent. 91 Points.

WINE OF THE WEEK: This was one of those weeks when the choice for Wine of the Week was clear: it was the 2009 Purple Star Syrah Silver Star. There was a problem, however, since I neglected to take a photo and it was the only bottle of the wine I owned. No problem, I thought, I would just scour the interwebs and use an image I found either on the winery’s website or on one of the more generic sites that had a bottle shot of the wine. Nope. Nada. Given that this was the only vintage of this wine produced, it seems that there is an utter lack of any sort of imagery surrounding the wine. Nonetheless, it is the Wine of the Week and I have used a photo of another wine produced by the dynamic duo of Amy and Kyle Johnson, their Muret-Gaston Red Blend, which is fantastic.  

 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 Cabernet Sauvignon, Champagne, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Sparkling Wine, Syrah, Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

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