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).
NV Gardet Champagne Premier Cru Blanc de Noirs, France: Retail $60. 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier. The first “batch” of this wine, which I purchased from Last Bottle Wines, was fantastic. This second “batch” from Vivino, though, is coming off a bit sweet (although only slightly). 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, albeit slightly sweet, finish. Still a solid wine for the price, but… Very Good. 89 Points.
NV Guy de Chassey Champagne Grand Cru Brut Cuvée de Buretel, France: Retail $55. Paid $36 at Vivino. 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay. Another bottle that tends toward the “excellent” or perhaps even “outstanding” side of the ledger. While I am not quite as over the moon as I was with the second bottle of this wine that I tried, this fourth bottle is pretty gangbusters, indeed. Pale straw in the glass with Granny Smith and Golden apple bursting through the nose along with a touch of caramel and freshly baked croissant. Yowza. The palate is bright, tart, ebullient, and, well, fantastic. Great fruit, appropriate tartness, tons of autolytic, yeasty goodness, and a lengthy finish. Excellent. 92 Points.
2012 Muret-Gaston Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, WA: Retail $50. 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Petit Verdot. Under cork. Quite dark in the glass (thank you PV) with considerable dark fruit: blackberry, plum, cassis, and even raspberry. Whoa. Throw in some earth, spice, and considerable verve and this wine is singing even before the first sip. That fruit is at the forefront on the palate as well, but this is no fruit bomb. Sure, that blackberry and cassis combo is impressive, but so is the tartness that holds that fruit in check. A hint of mocha comes in on the mid palate as does a healthy dose of spice. Whoa. Red Mountain is known to produce wines with great aging capability and this wine confirms it. In fact, the subtle, silky tannins suggest even more life, but it is oh so tasty tonight. Outstanding. 95 Points.
2018 de Négoce Cabernet Sauvignon OG N.46, Atlas Peak, Napa Valley, CA: Retail $240/case (plus ship and tax). I bought a case of this wine from what was then a relatively new venture by Cameron Hughes, the Californian négociant. I was particularly impressed with this wine initially and somewhat amazed at what Mr. Hughes was able to produce. Fruity, but far from overly so, with a good balance of acidity and tannic structure. While I have come down a bit from my earlier perch on this wine, it is still fantastic with a long life ahead of it, perhaps 5-10 years. Excellent. 92 Points.
2018 de Négoce Pinot Noir OG N.48, Russian River Valley, CA: Retail $13. Suggested retail? $40. Another bulk wine transformed into something greater by Cameron Hughes. I bought a case of this several months ago and while I have been pleasantly surprised by those wines, this set of wines afforded me a chance to revisit. Light on its feet, with a delicate breeze on the nose. The palate is equally divided as there are several wine markers: bright cherry, earth, and verve. Of the six wines I tasted, this might just be my fave. Excellent. 92 Points.
2017 Il Poggione (Proprietá Franceschi) Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy: On premise $69. Retail $100. 100% Sangiovese. We were at one of our preferred restaurants and the service was close to terrible, so we blew through the Chardonnay we ordered well before we received our appetizers. So we ordered this. Fairly dark in color with dark fruit (primarily blackberry and plum), black pepper, and an herbal aspect (sage, oregano) on the nose. The palate is quite pleasant with plenty of fruit (although nowhere close to overdone), balancing tartness, and an earthy finish. Quite lovely. Even better the following day and again the third. This is a wonder. Outstanding. 94 Points.
2011 Soléna Pinot Noir Domaine Danielle Lauren, Yamhill-Carlton, Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $45. Heavy Bottle. Quite dark in the glass, even “really dark” compared to other Pinots. Dark berry fruit, mostly black cherry, and raspberry, but it also seems like there might be some cassis in there as well. A bit brooding on the palate as well, but the fruit is fantastic and balanced by the tartness. Eleven-plus years out, this wine is still doing remarkably well. Very Good. 89 Points.
WINE OF THE WEEK: Another fairly solid week for pulling wines from the cellar but the Wine of the Week came down to two stellar wines. In the end, I opted for the 2012 Muret-Gaston Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain over the Il Poggione for this week’s top wine for a few reasons. First, the wine was stellar and well worthy of such a coveted honor. Second, I have visited the winery several times and the winemaking team of Kyle and Amy Johnson is fantastic. And last, the service we received (or more precisely didn’t receive) at the restaurant where we ordered the Brunello effectively took it out of the running, despite the fact that it was on the list for less than retail (!).
What was/were your Wine(s) of the Week?