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).
2016 Domaine Jean-Marc Bernhard Riesling Wineck-Schlossberg, Alsace Grand Cru, France: Retail $45. Under cork. While I am not familiar with this particular vineyard, I have taken several laps around the Alsatian wine scene and this is a solid effort. Despite being a half-dozen years out from the vintage, it is quite youthful in color (straw to slightly yellow), with plenty of citrus (grapefruit, lemon) on the nose. The palate is tart and on the verge of austere with a zinginess that belies its age. While this is far from the best Riesling I have tried from the region, it is a fantastic representation of the genre. Excellent. 90 Points.
NV Charles de Cazanove Champagne Tête de Cuvée, France: Retail $35. 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier, 10% Chardonnay. Here is what I wrote about this wine a couple of months ago: “Essentially a Blanc de Noir, this wine is loaded with tree fruit (due to the Pinot Noir), 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 will run back to my Costco and purchase the rest. Twenty-three bucks? giddy-up!” While I did not buy the rest of what was in stock at my local Costco, I did buy another six bottles and so far that first note is holding up quite nicely, thank you very much. Excellent. 91 Points.
2020 Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé, France: Retail $25. Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Rolle. Under cork. This is yet another stellar vintage from the once powerhouse couple of Bradjalina (or is it BrAngelina?). But this vintage is perhaps genuinely 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 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. 92 Points.
2018 Nino Franco Faìve Rosé Brut, Veneto IGT, Italy: Retail $24. 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc. While my love for Nino Franco will likely never wain, I have been slightly less enthralled with the last two bottles of this wine than I was with the first two (I bought six). 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.
2019 Sterling Vineyards Rosé, Carneros, CA: Retail $35. Big. Ass. Bottle. Carneros AVA. Under screw cap. 100% Syrah. I bought this for members of my neighborhood wine club right at 50% off, and it was really well received. I finally got around to tasting it for myself tonight and I was immediately struck by the color. At a time when it seems like most rosés are getting lighter, this is one of the darkest rosés (in color) I can remember drinking. Aromas of cherry and raspberry mingle among fresh rose petals and a hint of spice. Close to a whoa just for the nose. On the palate, as one might expect based on the color, this is quite rich, even really rich and full-bodied. Were this to be served blind at room temperature, I doubt many would guess “rosé.” Yes, this is a weighty pink, but the fruit is plentiful and intense with waves of acidity. I tried to find the residual sugar on this wine (to no avail), but I would say there is a noticeable (albeit slight) sweetness here as it comes through on the mid-palate. Excellent. 90 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: I struggled a bit in selecting the Wine of the Week this go around since all of the wines were solid but none were a spectacular, knock-your socks off kind of wine. In the end, I opted for the 2021 Château Miraval Rosé for a few reasons. First, it was another bottle from this new, stellar vintage. Second, as we are but a few days away from the start of September, which many consider the end of summer, I want to stress once again that rosés are not just a summer wine. Third, and last, as many of you may know, Brad and Angelina split up a while ago and to put it mildly, the divorce has been ugly. They are back in court since Angelina apparently sold her stake in the winery without first consulting Brad, or something like that. I only bring this up for selfish reasons–I really like the wine and I hope that these two knuckleheads can come to an agreement to the extent that this wine will continue to exist.
What was/were your Wine(s) of the Week?