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). I spent the majority of the past week in my adopted state of Maine (I earned my undergrad degree there) riding my bike, trying to find the perfect lobster roll, and drinking plenty of wine.
NV Canard-Duchêne Champagne Brut Rosé, France: Retail $45. 40% Pinot Meunier, 30% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay. 8g/l, 10% Reserve wines. Even though Cânard-Duchène has been around since 1868, I have not tried a ton of their wines, particularly the rosé–this might, in fact, be the first time I have tried a rosé from the venerable house. Medium to somewhat dark pink in the glass with bright red fruit, (strawberry, cherry), a touch of brioche, and a bit of subtle spice on the nose. The palate is rich and fruity with weight, verve, and pizzazz. It comes off as a tad sweet for me, but a solid quaff for sure. Excellent. 90 Points.
2019 CrossBarn (Paul Hobbs) Chardonnay Sonoma Coast, CA: Retail $25. Under screw cap. I was at the only wine shop that we could find in Portland Maine that would take our money on July 4th. Unbelievably, there was a distributor there and he pushed me toward this wine. He made quite the push for this wine (clearly one of the brands he represents) indicating that it was made by Paul Hobbs (not necessarily a plus for me as Hobbs is known for his big, powerful wines), and is “organic with minimal oak even though it goes through 100% malolactic fermentation” he added a host of other facts about the wine (which I have since forgotten–it was a holiday after all) and I ended up buying a bottle. Well. It was pretty good: Citrus and plenty of butter on the nose. The palate is round but also tart with all that citrus, some depth, and a lengthy finish. For around twenty bucks? Giddy-up. Excellent. 90 Points.
2019 Failla Chardonnay Platt Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, CA: Retail $45. We have long been a fan of Failla but since I have been writing about wine, I have not had much contact with the brand as they have a policy of not sending out samples to the likes of me. Too bad as Ehren Jordan is a talented winemaker and I typically love his wines. This “entry-level” Chard is a case in point. Bright lemon meringue in the glass with some green apple and some white pepper. The palate is simply stellar, sure, there is a hint of oak and the creaminess is robust, but this is much closer to a white Burgundy than it is to a traditional Cali “cougar juice.” Excellent. 92 Points.
NV Gonet-Médeville Champagne Premier Cru Tradition Brut, France: Retail $48. 70% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir, 5% Pinot Meunier. Récoltant-Manipulant (grower champagne). Aÿ. I had never heard of this producer let alone tasted it but I saw it in a wine shop in Portland for $47 and I took a flyer. Glad I did. Whoa. Golden in the glass with an intensely nutty and yeasty nose. I’ll have to check if there was any oak on this wine (I’d guess yes). The palate is quite dry (6 g/liter) with oodles of the brioche goodness that champagne geeks live for. Yowza. The disgorgement was in October of 2020 but this could be confused for a vintage pushing 20 years. Whoa. Outstanding. 96 Points.
NV Nino Franco Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Rustico, DOCG, Italy: Retail $25. 100% Glera. A friend of mine said he hated Prosecco as he made a Aperol Spritz using a fantastic Sonoma sparkling wine. So when I saw this at a wine shop while we were out and about. I poured it to him blind and asked him what he thought. “Excellent!” I then revealed that it was Prosecco and explained the difference between DOCG. I have had countless bottles of this wine and it is fantastically consistent with green apple a go-go on the nose. Even though this is Brut, it comes off as a bit sweet but only a bit with brilliant tartness and great length. At $20 this is one of the best Proseccos you can find. Excellent. 91 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: As I mentioned above, I was in Maine last week searching for the perfect lobster roll. While all of the wines listed above paired quite well with perhaps my favorite “sandwich” the Gonet-Médeville Champagne Premier Cru Champagne stood above the others as the Wine of the Week. I was surprised to see that this wine was not all that well received on Cellar Tracker, but it clearly checked all of the boxes (and then some) for me. The winery is located in Ludes, on the Montagne de Reims where the best Pinot Noir in the region is grown. This wine, surprisingly, is predominantly Chardonnay which is not normally in my wheelhouse. Perhaps it was the Maine sea air? The lobster roll? The relative exhaustion after a long ride? Whatever the reason, this wine was spectacular.
What was/were your Wine(s) of the Week?
Had you stopped in Rockport I’d have given you a glass of wine.