What We Have Been Drinking—1/2/2023

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).

2015 Pierre Archambault Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Grand Vin de Loire, France: Retail $13. 100% Melon de Bourgogne. I found this literally on the floor in my cellar. Who knows how it got there or how long it has languished? Well, I have always thought that Muscadet wines were overly acidic and lacking in fruit. So what happens when you add several years of age onto a wine that should be consumed relatively quickly after bottling? Yeah. Not good. Pretty close to undrinkable, in fact. I used the rest to make Kirs, which I should have done in the first place. Not Rated since I am a dope.

2010 Clos Pepe Estate Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills, CA: Retail $50. Under DIAM10. It has been more than a minute since I popped a bottle of this wine, and I am happy to say, it is doing quite well, thank you very much. It’s been more than eight years since Wes Hagen and his father-in-law, Steve Pepe, had a falling out and Clos Pepe Estate ceased to exist. I hear now that the Estate is up for sale? A cool $10 mil will do it. As for the wine, this is fruitier than I remember and rather remarkable given the dozen years since the harvest. Rich, luscious fruit, the SRH classic eucalyptus, and just a hint of earth. The palate follows suit: rich cherry fruit, incredible acidity, and just a hint of tannin. This continues to be my benchmark for all wines from the region. Whoa. Outstanding. 94 Points.

NV Duval-Leroy Champagne Brut Réserve, France: Retail $50. 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay. From Last Bottle Wines. This bottle represents an inherent problem with most non-vintage champagnes–there is no way to know how old the bottle is. Now, don’t get me wrong, I usually benefit from this “loophole” as I prefer my champers with some age on it, even the non-vintage stuff. This bottle, which was purchased two years ago, is clearly at least 8-10 years past the bottling. How do I know that? Well, the biggest indication is that the cork, once extracted, remained of such a shape that it was easily put back into the bottle even an hour later. The wine is also just how I like it: yeasty, creamy, with plenty of tartness and just the right amount of fruit. This is not my favorite large house producer of non-vintage champagne, but it can certainly see the top of that list. Excellent. 92 Points.

NV Gardet Champagne Dosage Zéro, France: Retail $60. 34% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay, 33% Pinot Meunier. Over the last handful of years or so, low to no dosage wines have become much more prevalent as consumers have indicated that they prefer drier champagnes. Great nose of tree fruit, citrus. And yeast. The palate is wonderfully dry, even on the verge of austere, but with great fruit, plenty of both body and depth, and an extremely long finish. While no-dosage wines might be a bit of a shock for the casual champagne fan, for the aficionado? This is close to revelatory. Outstanding. 94 Points.

NV Gardet Champagne Premier Cru Blanc de Noirs, France:  Retail $60. 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Meunier. It has been a good two and a half years since we cracked one of these, which we picked up from Last Bottle Wines. Straw to slightly golden in the glass with lovely tree fruit (tons of golden apple) paired with that scrumptious baked bread aspect that defines champagne. the palate is vibrant and tart with ample fruit and a nice finish. Excellent. 90 Points.

2021 Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé, France: Retail $25. Cinsault, Grenache, Rolle, Syrah. If you ever in need of a story where two people try their hardest to screw each other over and in the process end up destroying something truly beautiful, look to Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, and Château Miraval. I have no idea who the real villain is here, but both halves of the former Brangelina look complicit from where I sit. The wine, however, is as gorgeous as previous vintages: great fruit, gripping tartness, impeccable balance, lasting finish. Whoa. What a shame if this wine ceases to exist because of two talented but unbelievably entitled and vindictive individuals. Outstanding. 93 Points.

2019 Mud House Wines Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand: Retail $16. Under screw cap. I was doing a bit of inventory in the cellar and I came across this three-year-old NZ SB taking up space. Time to pop as it was not getting any better just sitting there. Or was it? I really liked this wine when I tasted it a couple of years ago, and it is every bit as good (if not better) tonight. All kinds of tropical and citrus fruit, some freshly cut grass, but none of that cat-pee element that I do not particularly enjoy. Tart, refreshing, and layered on the palate with great fruit and an intense zinginess. yeah, Excellent. 91 Points.

WINE OF THE WEEK: If I were being honest (but really, where is the fun in that?), the 2010 Clos Pepe should be the Wine of the Week. Every time I pop one of the few remaining bottles I have, I am thrilled at how well they have held up and excited that I still have several bottles from a number of vintages left from the now-defunct winery. But Clos Pepe always “wins” the most prestigious weekly wine award in this space, so I figured I would branch out a bit. So this week, I opted for something new and exciting as the Wine of the Week, a champagne! (Yeah, I know, I know, if I don’t choose a Clos Pepe, I usually have a champagne as the top wine of the week–so you’re suggesting I need to branch out a bit? Got it.) I had recently picked up a few bottles of the Gardet Champagne Dosage Zero from Vivino for about $36 and I have to say, I couldn’t be happier. A fantastic bottle of bubbles at a reasonable price

 What was/were your Wine(s) of the Week?




About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Champagne, Chardonnay, Cinsault/Cinsaut, France, Grenache, Melon de Bourgogne, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Rolle, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

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