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).
2009 Argiano Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy: Retail $50. 100% Sangiovese. I purchased three bottles of this wine from Cinderella, Wine Library’s (aka Gary Vaynerchuk) flash wine site and I have to say I am impressed, maybe even more. A tad on the dark side with blackberry, plum, and anise on the nose, along with some spice and earth, this wine really sings. The palate carries along many of those characteristics and adds an intense tartness that holds the wine together. It finishes with depth and tannic grip, which only adds to this marvel, Whoa. Outstanding. 93 Points.
NV Gaston Chiquet Champagne Premier Cru Tradition Brut, France: Retail $50. 40% Meunier, 35% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir. Disgorgement February 2021. Somewhat coincidentally, while I was in New York, buying a couple of bottles of this wine from the wine shop inside Penn Station (decent shop, OK prices for Manhattan), my wife did the same from our local Total Wine in Houston. Same wine, same disgorgement, similar notes: “While this will never be mistaken for a Krug, it does have subtle citrus, plenty of hazelnut, and oodles of yeasty goodness. The palate is equally inviting–just a solid effort all around from this third-generation grower champagne house in Dizy.” Excellent. 91 Points.
2007 Copain Syrah Spirit Rock Alder Springs Vineyard, Mendocino County, CA: Retail $45. Under cork (no foil). I purchased two bottles way back in 2011 when my blog was not even an idea yet and this is the first one we have popped. Sure, some of the fruit has passed on, but this wine is still pretty close to gangbusters. Dark in the glass with a captivating nose of blackberry coulis and spice, this is also quite harmonious on the palate. Like I said, some of the fruit has jumped ship, but I would still hold this up to many a Syrah to show them how they should have been made. Excellent. 92 Points.
NV Jean-Noël Haton Champagne Brut Rosé, France: Retail $45. 35% Pinot Meunier, 35% Pinot Noir (10% of which is vinified as red wine), 30% Chardonnay. It was not until I moved to Texas that I discovered Haton Champagne. Sure, I like to fancy myself as a bit of a champagne hound and I have certainly tasted my fair share of the best bubbly on the planet, but this producer was new to me. And while it is far from a revelation, the house clearly makes solid wines. Case in point, this rosé. It has decent fruit, a vibrant sparkle, and a lovely tartness. Will it cause me to sell most (any?) of my worldly possessions to buy more? No. Not at all. But it served as a diversion from Will Smith slapping Chris Rock on live T.V. Very Good. 88 Points.
2012 Maria & Manfred Hick Riesling Smaragd Ried Stiegelstal, Wachau, Austria: Retail 12€. Under screw top. It was a day. My father-in-law was out of the hospital but needed attention (understatement), my dog needed to go to the hospital and required plenty of attention, and my eighth-grade son, well, as always, needed all kinds of attention. This wine? Whoa. I gladly afforded it some attention. Straw to golden in the glass with lemon zest, hazelnut, and plenty of petrol on the nose, this wine is gangbusters from the jump. The palate is tart, fruity, and mineral all in one, but there is a subtle complexity that comes through on the mid-palate. Yowza. Outstanding. 94 Points.
NV Nicolas Maillart Champagne Grand Cru Brut Rosé, France: Retail $65. 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, of which 7% Pinot Noir is added as a still red wine (for color). Even though Nicolas Maillart is in Écueil, a Premier Cru village on the other side of the Montagne de Reims (which is really just a glorified hill), the fruit for this wine comes from perhaps my favorite Grand Cru Village, Bouzy. Thus, I had high hopes. It certainly delivered. Medium salmon color with intense aromas of wild strawberry and Bing cherry paired with a delicate, yet vibrant, sparkle in the glass. The fruit comes through right away on the palate but is quickly followed by a healthy dose of tart (6g/l dosage), zingy acidity, followed by a touch of yeastiness, and a lengthy finish. This is not the “best” rosé I have had from Bouzy (I think it has a bit too much Chardonnay), but it is certainly Excellent. 92 Points.
NV Mailly Champagne Grand Cru Brut Réserve, France: Retail $42. 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay. 100% Grand Cru. I have had a ton of this wine. A ton. It’s our house wine. We named our dog Mailly. Need I say more? Excellent. 92 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: We certainly had a few good bottles this week and while perhaps the Hick Riesling was the “best” wine, I was going to opt for the Mailly Grand Cru Champagne Brut Réserve as this week’s Wine of the Week. Why? Well, as I mentioned in the ever-so-brief note, we drink a ton of this wine (which in the U.S. is only available at Total Wine) but every time we pull a bottle of it from the cellar, we feel like it is a special occasion (which sometimes is just “Tuesday”). So while we buy this buy the case, it still is pretty special to us and therefore worthy of this week’s top honor. But. It was the Wine of the Week back in March and being the equal opportunity selector of the WotW that I am, I decided to go with the Gaston Chiquet Champagne Premier Cru Tradition since it proved that my wife and I can be on the same wavelength (when it comes to champagne, at least).
What was/were your Wine(s) of the Week?