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 de la Croix Côtes de Provence iirrrésistible!, France: Retail $25. 25% Mourvèdre, 25% Grenache/Garnacha, 20% Cinsault, 15% Syrah, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Tibouren, 5% Rolle. I saw this for fifteen bucks at the Kroger on Shepherd here in Houston during their bi-annual sale and I thought I would take a flyer despite the wine being a few years out. It has been my contention for years now that True Rosé, wines that are made *intentionally* (i.e., *not* saignées) can age just like white wines. Not many people would think twice about holding on to a white wine for a year or two past vintage, so why is the popular stance that rosé should be consumed immediately? I don’t get it. Rant over. Having said all of that, this wine is fine, it is not going to be anyone’s top rosé of the year, but there is good fruit, ample acidity, and an above-average finish. Not quite to the “Excellent” level, but still Very Good. 89 Points.
NV Comtes de Dampierre Champagne Grand Cru Brut, France: Retail $50. 65% Chardonnay (Avize), 35% Pinot Noir (Bouzy). Not “Grand Cru” but the “Grande Cuvée.” I bought a handful of these from my local H-E-B (I love my H-E-B) a year ago and this is the third bottle we have popped. It aligns much more with the second bottle (which was fabulous) than the first (which was less than fabulous) as the near golden elixir has a lovely nose of baked apple, fresh croissant, and lemon rind. The palate is equally delightful with a persistent sparkle, a lively zinginess, and a finish that lasts much longer than most. Like I said, more in line with the second bottle, and close to a Whoa. Excellent. 92 Points.
NV M. Haslinger Champagne Brut, France: Retail $40. 46% Pinot Noir, 37% Pinot Meunier, 17% Chardonnay. I was doing something that I had promised my wife I would not do: I went wine shopping. I had not intended to *buy* anything, but I happened by the Kroger on Shepard here in Houston and it was the last day of their bi-annual (or is it semi-annual?) 20% off sale. Among other interesting wines, this was on sale for $25 and then was another 20% off. Twenty bucks for a bottle of champagne? Yeah, I will give that a whirl. Solid nose of fresh citrus and brioche with bits of minerality and salinity. Nice. The palate is equally fantastic: bright, zingy, and loaded with that yeasty yumminess that defines champagne. Yum. Twenty bucks? I had to resist every bone in my body to go out and buy more before the sale ended. It helped that my wife took my keys. Excellent. 90 Points.
NV Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé, France: Retail $24. 100% Pinot Noir. I put the Crémants from Alsace right up there with hose from the Jura as the the best French sparkling wines outside of Champagne. And I have long considered Albrecht as one of the top producers of bubbles in the region. It has been a couple of years since I have tried the rosé and I remain a fan. Bright red fruit, fantastic tartness, above-average length. Excellent. 90 Points.
2021 BP Provence Select Côtes de Provence Les Sarrins Rosé, France: Retail $25. 60% Grenache, 25% Cinsault, 10% Rolle, 5% Mourvèdre. Agglomerated stopper. This winery is owned by Bruno Paillard and I first visited it a handful of years ago while in Provence. When I saw this on sale for $16 at Central Market here in Houston, I jumped. Classic Provençal rosé in blend, color, and nose with red berry fruit a-go-go with mineral and floral notes. Yowza. The palate is lovely–great fruit, fantastic acidity, impeccable balance. I had a previous vintage of this wine years ago and loved it. This one is better. Outstanding. 93 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: After a week in Maine, we returned to our relative state of “normal” here in Houston. This time of year is fairly miserable in the Bayou City with daily high temperatures often reaching triple digits. The humidity level often approaches the temperature, too, providing evidence of what it might feel like where I am no doubt heading after I take my last breath here on earth. While that might come off as a bit grim, I do manage to enjoy myself immensely between riding my bike early in the morning and drinking plenty of rosé and sparkling wine in the evening. This week’s wines that we pulled from the cellar all came from those two categories (with one checking both boxes!) and the choice for Wine of the Week was an easy one. When I saw the bottle of 2021 Les Sarrins Côtes de Provence Rosé on the shelf, I knew I was going to love it as it is made by Bruno Paillard–one of my favorite producers in Champagne. I also knew that there were several more weeks of summer to go here in Houston, which is why I bought every single bottle of the wine they had left and wished they had more.
What was/were your Wine(s) of the Week?