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).
2019 Domaine Cherrier Père et fils Sancerre Les 7 Hommes, Loire Valley, France: Retail $50. 65% Chardonnay (Avize), 35% Pinot Noir (Bouzy). While I “liked” the last bottle, there was an odd metallic thing appearing right before the finish that was a little off-putting. Not here! Fresh baked Granny Smith pie for days, a hint of oxidation (love it!), brilliant acidity, and a lengthy finish. What else could one want? Well, I purchased it at my local H-E-B (I love my H-E-B) on sale for thirty bucks. Excellent. 92 Points.
2007 De Ponte Cellars Pinot Noir Baldwin Family Reserve, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley. OR: Retail $80. Under cork. Heavy bottle. It has almost been three years since I popped the first of the three bottles of this wine that I purchased back in 2010 and I will try to wait another long while before opening the third. While the incredible community on Cellar Tracker suggests that this wine should have been consumed in 2017, I beg to differ. Whoa. Gorgeous color in the glass, even if a bit on the dark side for Pinot, with an amazing nose of dark berry fruit, vanilla, hints of oak, spice, and bushels of verve. Whoa. The palate does not disappoint. Holy cow. Really great fruit, followed quickly by the spice, and a whole lot of intrigue. While the critics found this vintage to be lacking and too austere, the locals consider this one of the “classic” vintages, displaying what is best about Pinot from the region. I side with the locals. Yowza. Outstanding. 94 Points.
2018 Fullerton Wines Pinot Noir Momtazi Vineyard, McMinnville AVA, Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $65. Under DIAM10. I first tasted this back in November, as a part of the Fourth Annual Blind Tasting of American Pinot Noir. While I liked it then, I still found it a bit lacking, particularly when paired against the other 50-odd bottles I tasted. Today? It is quite dark in the glass, quite dark. In fact, it would be easy to guess “Syrah” or even “Malbec” based only on the color. The nose, however, is clearly Pinot with rich dark cherry, black raspberry, and clove. The palate has some rich fruit, but it is over-ridden by the zingy acidity and spice notes. Much better than I remember it some eight months ago. Excellent. 91 Points.
2015 Gallimard Père et Fils Champagne Cuvée Prestige, France: Retail $60. 65% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay. From the Aube, a relatively recent addition to the Champagne region, this vintage wine (which I purchased from Invino.com for $28) is stellar. Sure, it is not on par with some of the titans from the region, but at around thirty bucks? This comes awfully close to a whoa. Some color on the nose (more of a golden than straw or yellow), with tons of golden apple on the nose, with yeasty notes, and the palate follows suit. Rich, on the verge of unctuous, with plenty of brioche and lovely apple notes. Again, really close to a whoa. Fantastic. Excellent. 92 Points.
2020 Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé, France: Retail $25. Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Rolle. Under cork. Simply put, this is yet another stellar vintage from the once powerhouse couple of Bradjalina (or is it BrAngelina?). But this vintage is perhaps truly noteworthy. Yes, this is another fine rosé from the Perrin family (who make this wine in conjunction with, well, them), but it is more than that–as expected, this is one of the standard-bearers for any discussion of Provençal rosé (along with Whispering Angel for those playing along at home) but this might be the best vintage since that first star-crossed year of 2010. Pale orange, with a pinkish hue, this wine is awash (wait, did I use that word twice in the same note?) with lovely fruit (strawberry, watermelon, cherry) and balanced by a tart minerality (which is not a word, but probably should be). Yes, I am loathed to recognize how wonderful this wine is year after year (never a fan of Bra or Djalina), but even over (?) a decade in now, it might just be time to relent and admit that this is a wonderful wine. Excellent. 92 Points.
NV Taittinger Champagne Brut Réserve / La Française, France: Retail $50. 40% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, 25% Pinot Meunier. Pale straw in the glass with all kinds of yeasty goodness obscuring the pear and golden apple fruit (with a twist of lemon rind) on the nose. Lovely. The palate is equally stellar with an instant burst of acidity, then a wave of the aforementioned fruits, and a delicate, persistent sparkle. Excellent. 91 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Another solid week pulling wines from the cellar as all of the wines I found to be “Excellent” or “Outstanding.” Clearly, though, one of the wines, the 2007 De Ponte Cellars Pinot Noir Baldwin Family Reserve, this week’s Wine of the Week, stood above the others. I picked up this wine way back in 2010 when I was out in the Willamette Valley for the International Pinot Noir Celebration. I was actually there as a consumer (yes, I really did pay my own way) and the folks at De Ponte were assigned to be my “host winery.” They could not have been nicer and more helpful and as a plus, they produce fantastic wines. This is their top wine and while at the time, the 2008 vintage was receiving all the press, I found the 2007 to be much more enjoyable. It has held up quite nicely, too.
What was/were your Wine(s) of the Week?