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).
These last two weeks, we have been in France, spending a week cycling in the Loire Valley, bookended by a few days in Paris. These are some of the wines we have consumed while over here.
NV Drappier Champagne Carte d’Or Brut, France: Retail $50. 75% Pinot Noir, 15% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Meunier. At a resto in Blois for 45€. Yellow to golden in the glass with plenty of lemon and hints of freshly baked goods. The palate is tart, even quite tart, followed by a wave of fresh brioche. Just what one should expect from a quality champagne and one of my favorite houses. Excellent. 91 Points.
NV Château Gaudrelle Vouvray Pétillant Notre Méthode, Loire Valley, France: 24€ at a restaurant in Tours. 100% Chenin Blanc. We rode through Vouvray today but did not have time to stop to taste at any of my favorite producers there, so I was Jones-ing a Chenin. And sparkling. Thus, at a restaurant in Vieux Tours, I opted for this. Good choice, if I do say so myself. Straw to yellow in the glass with intense green apple and Asian pear with subtle yeasty notes. The palate is tart and fruity with that hint of brioche in the background. Delicious. Excellent. 90 Points.
NV Gosset Champagne Brut Grande Réserve, France: 42€. This used to be, hands down, my favorite champagne but when the price moved north of $50 *and* it became harder to find, I moved on. Well, on a recent trip to Paris, I saw this at the local Nicolas for around forty bucks, I pounced. Glad I did. Freshly baked croissant and lemon notes abound on the nose and much like the aromas that ooze on the Parisian street where I bought it (the store is right across from a Boulangerie). Tart, yeasty, and layered, this wine is relatively young (I like a little age on my champers, even the non-vintage wines), but oh so tasty. I might have to search out a few bottles in Houston and buy them quickly before I come to my senses. Outstanding. 93 Points.
NV Montaudon Champagne Grande Rosé Brut, France: Retail $50. 35% Pinot Noir, 15% Pinot Noir (red-style vinification), 20% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay. Along with Mailly Grand Cru, Montaudon has been one of our go-to champagnes for years. Montaudon, also like Mailly, is a co-op and twenty years ago, we could buy both for more than half of what they sell for now. One of the darker rosé champagnes on the market with plenty of red berry fruit, hints of yeastiness, and just a touch of nuttiness on the nose. The palate is full-bodied and rich, with plenty of fruit, a lovely sparkle, and balancing acidity. Yup, still one of our favorites. Excellent. 91 Points.
2002 G. H. Mumm & Cie Champagne Brut Millésimé, France: We were walking through our favorite neighborhood in France (rue Montorgeuil) and stopped in a mini-grocery store at the north end of the street just to check out the selection. When I saw this for a mere 37€50 I knew we had our wine. It opened without much of a fight at all, just a simple sigh. Golden in the glass with a slight, but fervent sparkle and a heavy brioche nose with just a hint of lemon. Whoa. One of those wines that I could sniff all day. The palate is quite dry, so dry, in fact, that I was expecting to see “Extra Brut” on the label (but it’s labeled as a Brut). A weighty mouthfeel with intense secondary (brioche) and even tertiary (honey, beeswax). Holy cow. I have had a few trips around the block when it comes to vintage champagne and this is fairly Extraordinary. 97 Points.
2010 Domaine Rolet Côtes du Jura, Expression du Terroir, France: Retail $25? Savagnin, Chardonnay. If you have never had a Jura white, this note will not mean much. For those who have, though, this has everything one might hope for. Oxidized nose to the point that you might be tempted to send it back. But don’t. Holy cow. The palate is equally capable of stopping you in your tracks. Nutty, oxidized, and just a hint of citrus but intense acidity, numerous layers, and one of the longest finishes I’ve experienced. Outstanding. 94 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: There is something about drinking wine in France that just makes it taste better and when you add in tasting the wine in its actual region, well, it takes it up another notch. These past two weeks, we have had many such occasions, from bottles of champagne on the sidewalk cafés of Paris to bottles of Chinon in, well, Chinon. While all of the wines were memorable, one certainly stood out, the 2002 G. H. Mumm & Cie Champagne Brut Millésimé, which I found at the French equivalent of a 7-11 (more or less). Pretty mind-blowing all the way around, wouldn’t you say?
What was/were your Wine(s) of the Week?