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 Charles de Cazanove Champagne Tête de Cuvée, France: Retail $35. 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier, 10% Chardonnay. Essentially a Blanc de Noir, this wine is loaded with tree fruit (due to the Pinot Noir), and floral notes (thanks to the Pinot Meunier), and plenty of verve. Sure, the wine comes off as a tad sweet, but I found this at my local Costco for a mere $23 and had to give it a flyer. Glad I did. Tart, fruity, balanced (other than a touch, and just a touch, too sweet) this really is pretty darned close to fabulous. I think I am going to run back to my Costco and purchase the rest. Twenty-three bucks? giddy-up! Excellent. 91 Points.
NV Gallimard Père et Fils Champagne Cuvée de Réserve Blanc de Noirs, France: Retail $50. 100% Pinot Noir from l’Aube. It was well into the evening when my lovely wife decided she needed more wine. Strike that. She needed more bubbly. Strike that. She needed more *champagne*. Luckily, we have 25-30 cases on hand at any given time. I suggested that she pull this wine since a) I knew it was stellar and b) see A. Good fruit, but also rich and yeasty with flavors that go on for days. I have been pleased with almost all of my purchases from LastBottleWines.com but this has to be near the top of that list. Seriously. Outstanding. 93 Points.
2018 Nino Franco Faìve Rosé Brut, Veneto, Italy: Retail $24. 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc. While my love for Nino Franco will likely never wain, I am slightly less enthralled with this bottle than I was the first. Sure, all the fruit is there (plenty of red and some black), but there is a bit lacking this time. Plenty of tartness, all that fruit, and a pretty solid level of acidity. So what’s missing? I don’t know for sure, but the “verve factor” seems to be in absentia tonight. Very Good. 89 Points.
2021 Domaines Ott Côtes de Provence By.Ott, France: Retail $27. Under DIAM5. 62% Grenache, 21% Cinsault, 6% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre. Not too long ago, Domaines Ott was the undisputed royalty of Provençal rosé, but, several years ago there were a few new players in the game. Yes, Ott still makes incredible wines, but a handful of challengers came into the space, at a lower retail price, and challenged Ott’s perch. This By.Ott, at least as it seems to me, is an attempt by the venerable Domaines Ott, to challenge the competitors at the lower price point. And, if this vintage is an indication, they are succeeding. Fantastic stone fruit (peach and pear), papaya, even cantaloupe. Close to a whoa. Fantastic. Excellent. 92 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). This is quickly becoming a house favorite. It vacillates between $32 and $48 at our local H-E-B and, of course, when it is at the bottom of that range, we stock up. Quite dry with baked apple, fresh out of the oven brioche, and oodles of verve, this is really fantastic. I am pretty sure that this cuvée came about after Émilien Boutillat took over for my guy Régis Camus as Chef de Cave at the venerable house, but that changes little of my opinion of both the wine and the direction of P-H. It is clearly in good hands. Outstanding. 93 Points.
2020 Château de Trinquevedel, Tavel, France: Retail $21. 60% Grenache, 13% Clairette, 13% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, 3% Mourvèdre, 1% Bourboulenc. Ah Tavel, if there were ever a singular town in France that I have yet to visit, it might be you (although Cassis and Condrieu are also on that list). As with all Tavel, this is dark in the glass, closer to a red than certainly a Provençal rosé. And along with all that color comes fruit, body, and depth. Yowza. Perhaps the best known (or at least most widely distributed Tavel in the U.S., thank you Kermit Lynch), this wine is quite robust, but also tart and lively on both the nose and the palate. Why more rosé wines are not made this way (with more ripeness on the vine and just a bit more skin contact), I might never know. but thank goodness for Tavel. Outstanding. 93 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: I think it has been fairly well-established that we drink a lot of champagne in the drunken cyclist household and this week was no exception. Both the Piper-Heidsieck Essentiel Cuvée and the Gallimard Blanc de Noirs were exceptional and both worthy of the Wine of the Week. Additionally, I was quite surprised by the Charles de Cazanove Tête de Cuvée, and at twenty-three bucks at Costco, I might need to buy more. All three fantastic wines, all solid choices for the top honor this week. Last weekend, however, I hosted the Sixth Annual World’s Largest Blind Tasting of American True Rosé so the pink stuff has certainly been on my mind. Even though we already had several dozen open bottles of rosé cluttering up the kitchen, I pulled a 2020 Château de Trinquevedel from the cellar this week and it was divine. Always among the top wines from Tavel every year, this week it is also my Wine of the Week.
What was/were your Wine(s) of the Week?