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 Boizel Champagne Brut Réserve, France: Retail $50. 55% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Meunier. Disgorgement: December 2016. I had been eyeing this wine at my local H-E-B (I love my H-E-B) for some time now, but I did not pull the trigger until it was on sale for 20% off. I like to think I have tried most of the houses in Epernay and Reims, but as far as I know, not this one. It was not until I sat down to write this note that I noticed the disgorgement date, which tracks since this had a decided “older” aspect to it (the cork has yet to expand). Lemon curd, yeast, hazelnut, and a touch of white flower on the nose with plenty of tartness, fruit, that nuttiness, fresh croissant, and verve on the palate. I am certain that part of my fondness for this wine is the age on it, but still…. Outstanding. 94 Points.
NV Charles Coquet Champagne Grand Cru L’Elegant, France: Retail $55. 55% Pinot Noir, 45% Chardonnay. 100% Grand Cru from Louvois, Bouzy, and Ambonnay on the Montagne de Reims. Another bottle procured by my lovely wife while I was away, this has a lovely near golden straw color and fine sparkle in the glass. Tart green apple is all but pushed aside by the yeasty, nutty aromas that make this wine particularly inviting (3-4 years of on the lees aging). The palate is rich, layered, and particularly reminiscent of a freshly baked croissant, yowza. The mid-palate introduces some of that apple-y goodness found on the nose, but it is quickly shoved aside by the rich autolytic aspect. Whoa. One of those wines that I did not know what to expect but was so pleasantly surprised. Outstanding. 93 Points.
NV Gallimard Père et Fils Champagne Grande Réserve Chardonnay, France: Retail $50. 100% Chardonnay. Over the past few years, Last Bottle has sent me two other champagnes from Gallimard and both were quite good. So, it was a no-brainer when this Blanc de Blancs became available. While the Côtes des Bar is best known for its Pinot Noir, this Chardonnay is delightful. Light straw in the glass with a fine and constant sparkle, this wine has plenty of green apple, baked spice, and just a hint of yeastiness. The palate is tart and incredibly fruity, with a bit of apple pie coming in on the mid-palate and racy acidity on the finish. Really a lovely wine. Excellent. 92 Points.
NV Marie de Moy Champagne Premier Cru Brut, France: Retail $50. Unbeknownst to me, my wife actually bought two bottles of this wine and while the first one was OK (I guess), this second cork was, well, not. An off-putting nose that made me think of urine more than brioche with perhaps some green apple if I am being charitable. The palate is certainly better, by not by all that much. It is champagne, but it has to be near the bottom of the barrel here. I drank it, but that is not saying all that much. Good? 84 Points.
2003 Domaine des Monts Luisants Morey St. Denis Pierre Virant, France: Retail $120? Big. Ass. Bottle. 100% Pinot Noir. This is a bit of a tough wine on a few fronts. First, it comes from a really difficult vintage when several weeks of intense heat really challenged winemakers across France. Second, the last bottle I tried, nearly a decade ago, was not stellar (and that is being kind). Last, I popped this on the tenth anniversary of a really difficult night for me (I should have died), and I was forced to face it alone. So I popped this. And. It. Was. Stellar. Dark cherry and raspberry fruit with an intense acidity (which was shocking given the year), that married almost perfectly with that luscious fruit. I don’t drink a ton of Burgundy these days, but this was well beyond expectations. Outstanding. 94 Points.
NV Salmon Champagne Montgolfière Sélection Brut, France: Retail $45. 50% Pinot Meunier, 25% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay. We have had a bunch of these now, with only one bottle left. The previous bottles were Very Good, Excellent, even, and this bottle falls in wine with those. Yellow straw in color, green apple, and freshly baked bread in aromas. I paid $30 at LastBottleWines.com and that seems about right. Very Good. Very Good. 89 Points.
NV Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut Rosé, France: Retail $60. 44 to 48 % Pinot Noir, 25 to 29 % Chardonnay, 13 to 18 % Meunier. As I have mentioned on this blog numerous times, I am a fan of Veuve Clicquot. Those who disparage the good widow, in my opinion, do so because the wine is ubiquitous (I have seen the yellow label Brut in Walgreen’s for goodness sake) and is owned by one of the largest conglomerates in the world. While I would certainly agree with both of those points (which certainly cause me to pause), I also think that the wines are quite good, stellar even. That is the case with both the Brut and this Brut Rosé: full of fruit (strawberry, cherry), yeastiness, considerable minerality, and plenty of Veuve, er, verve. The palate is quite fruity: oodles of cherry, strawberry, tartness, that minerality, and a baked croissant aspect. Excellent. 92 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: As I mentioned in the note for this week’s Wine of the Week, the 2003 Domaine des Monts Luisants Morey St. Denis Pierre Virant, I opened it on the 10th Anniversary of hearing the words “I really can’t believe you’re alive.” Those words came from an emergency room doctor and have altered my life in many ways since. I like to think that I have changed since then, hopefully even matured a bit. Much like this wine. When I first tried this, almost a decade ago, it was not very good at all, but in the interim it has changed quite a bit, even matured. I know the analogy is not perfect, but on the anniversary of a night that causes many mixed emotions for me, this seemed like the perfect wine.
What was/were your Wine(s) of the Week?