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).
2008 Edouard Brun & Cie Champagne Premier Cru Brut, France: Retail $75. 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir. Although I am not familiar with the producer, when I saw this for sale at FirstBottle.com for $55, I decided to take a bit of a leap of faith. FirstBottle is related to LastBottle and I am a huge fan of the former. I bought six bottles earlier this year and this is the first that we have popped. I decided that my wife’s birthday was the time to pull this wine, and I am glad I did. While not the most complex Champers I have tried (even today), it is loaded with fruit, bakery goodness, and hazelnut, with a finish is off the charts. Really fantastic. Excellent. 92 Points.
2021 Ferrari-Carano Sangiovese Rosé, Sonoma County, CA: Retail $15. 100% Sangiovese. Under screw cap. As I mentioned a couple of months ago, this was on clearance for some reason at my local H-E-B (I love my H-E-B) grocery store for $7. Seven bucks? I bought six, but should have just cleared out the shelf. Fruity, tart, well-balanced, there is not much lacking here and great to have around no matter what the temperature is outside. Excellent. 91 Points.
NV G. H. Mumm & Cie Champagne Grand Cordon Brut Rosé, France: Retail $60. 60% Pinot Noir, 22% Chardonnay, 18% Pinot Meunier, 14% red wine. Another fantastic deal from my local H-E-B as I got this on sale for a little bit north of thirty bucks. It has since jumped up to over $40 and it is tough for me to buy a wine at a higher price than I once paid for it. Great red fruit, vibrant sparkle, zingy acidity, and a bit of that yeasty yumminess in champagne that I’ve been addicted to for some time now. Yeah. Happy spot. Excellent. 91 Points.
NV Mailly Champagne Grand Cru Brut Rosé, France: Retail $65. 90% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay. As frequent readers of this spot no doubt know, Mailly has long been our favorite champagne. So much so, we named our now five-year-old dog “Mailly.” While we mostly consume the flagship Brut Réserve, the rosé was really what made our collective heart swoon. Like the Brut Réserve, this wine has also escalated in price over the years and it now sits at $65. While there is no doubt in my mind that it warrants it, it is also well beyond my “daily-wine” price. As I said with the Brut, I really love these wines, perhaps my favorite “game” in all of Champagne, but I am being priced out. #Sad. Deep pink color, one of the darker rosé champagnes on the market. Lovely, rich nose of strawberry, cherry, croissant, and a slight mineral aspect. The palate is laden with fruit, plenty of tartness, and considerable verve. Yowza. Outstanding. 93 Points.
2018 Tongue Dancer Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, CA: Retail $49. It does not happen very often at all, but once in a great while I will buy wines based on some of the samples that I have been sent. Tongue Dancer is one producer that I will not hesitate to buy wine from, even without having tasted the wines ahead of time. I can say without hesitation that if James and Kerry MacPhail put out a wine under their Tongue Dancer label, it will be good, crazy good. That is the case here with this Sonoma Coast Pinot and while, at fifty bucks, it may not be an every day kind of wine, it still over-delivers. This is what I wrote over two years ago and it still applies (and may not be sufficient): “Initially, this wine was a bit tense and nervous, but it was clear that the stuffing was there for an incredible wine. After a day open and a bit of rest, I revisited. Whoa. Sure, the fruit is front and center, but behind all that exuberance is balancing acidity, depth of flavors, and silky tannins.” This wine is truly Outstanding. 95 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Looking over this week’s wines that I pulled from the cellar, it is perhaps painfully obvious that we drink a lot of champagne. A lot. There is no question that it is usually the first, second, and third choice of what wine we want to open when we are having (fill in any meal or dish and we will likely opt to have it with bubbles). So the fact that this week’s Wine of the Week did not have a single bubble in the bottle is an indication of just how great the wine was. Yes, the 2018 Tongue Dancer Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, made me forget about champagne, at least for a while.
What was/were your Wine(s) of the Week?
Since Champagne is a favorite, have you delved into 100% P meunier based wines?
If not, seek them out,, as there are about half a dozen dedicated producers. Cheers.
I know there are those out there that like the 100% Pinot Meunier, but, alas, I am not one of them. I find them lacking structure. Give me majority Pinot Noir, or better yet 100% Pinot Noir and I am a happy man.
No Problem, just wanted to be sure you were aware of them. Personally I also prefer more structure and all chard versions leave me empty, so I get what you are saying. The meunier sort of bridges the gap. As other options you likely know, but just in case: How about a very dry cremant de Bourgogne ?
It lacks the brioche/ yeasty from long lees contact, but very enjoyable. Or Franciacorta with a high pinot %? Cheers!
Personally, when it comes to Crémant, I lean towards the Jura (if I can find it) then Alsace and Loire. I have yet to find a Crémant de Bourgogne to get behind.