Tastes at a charity dinner to which I contributed one wine that won’t be noted. Overall more interesting than good, but some nice sips.
Veuve Clicquot Brut NV – This wasn’t one of them. For almost a decade now, consistently the worst Champagne I’ve ever had. Dull, seems a little soapy and either too soft and/or too sweet. That it is the best-selling Champagne in the U.S. is a tribute to unmatched marketing clout. I took one small sip and handed in my glass. Rated <75.
Chateau Gravas Sauternes 2011 – The aromas are pleasantly but oddly a little grassy. Only moderately sweet, moderate intensity, nicely balanced, good accompaniment to foie gras (I normally prefer light, high-acid reds with this dish). Unlike most Sauternes, I don’t think this will improve much with age. Rated 87.5, ready to drink.
Trimbach Gewurztraminer 2013 – Nice aromas feature more roses than spice. The palate is balanced, with enough spice to identify the varietal, but lacking intensity. Pleasantly dry unlike most entry-level Alsace Gewurz, well balance and persistent. Rated 88.1.
Claudie Jobard Rully Blanc 2013 – Aromas are fine; mineral and slightly herbal. The palate is pleasant and balanced, but rather faint. Despite good vivacity, the wine seems fully mature. A nice glass in a poor vintage. Rated 89.
Rodney Strong “Chalk Hill” Chardonnay 2014 – Smells like generic Chardonnay. Tastes like generic Chardonnay. Slightly soft and heavy, lacking in intensity, this is a disappointment from a producer I normally consider reliable. Rated about 78.
Bedrock Evangelho Heritage Red 2013 - Fine aromas are both mineral and herbal, with good intensity. The palate features intricate, ripe red fruits (currants, cherries) and excellent minerality, but the acid level is high and there is something a little hollow. A very distinctive wine, an acquired taste, a bravo for a bold effort. Depending on your tolerance for acidity and idiosyncrasy rated either 81 or 92. I was surprised that this was a consumer favorite at the dinner.
Chateau Miraval Rose 2015 [non-commercial post: I represented this Chateau briefly under a previous ownership] – Rose is now a fashion statement as well as a wine. I’m only qualified to comment on the latter (I assume that the package and the celebrity ownership help make it a success as the former). This is a beautiful rose. The aromas feature slightly underripe strawberry and red currant, the palate has good intensity and piquancy, with spice as well as fruit; the finish is moderately long and very well balanced. Rated 91.5.
Domaine Ott Clos Mireille Blanc 2013 – Fine aromas feature lemon and sage with hints of pear and fig. The palate is moderately rich with excellent intensity and a beautiful interplay of flavors that mimic the aromas, nicely intertwined with herbal, ripe tree fruit and citric notes blending seamlessly. The finish is not quite as long as the entry and mid-palate would indicate, but this is still a very distinctive beauty. I’m told it’s 70 / 30 Semillon and Rolle (Vermentino). Kudos to the Domaine for their vision to plant and then blend these… I’ve never heard of any similar blend. Rated 93+ and WOTN.
Pascal Jolivet Sancerre 2013 – This is a textbook Sancerre, with flinty aromas over grassy and herbal notes. The flavors are similar. This is light in body but has decent intensity and a moderately long finish. It is a pleasant glass, a good achievement in a poor vintage. Rated 86.
Guigal Saint Joseph 2012 – The aromas have fine intensity, with black cherry, white pepper and good minerality. The palate is medium bodied with fine balance of richness and acidity and plenty of fruit. There is intricacy and power with plenty of ripe tannin and balanced acidity. This is an over-achiever for a basic wine from the Appellation. Rated 91 tonight, could improve a point or even two over the next five years as the acidity mellows and subtleties develop.
M. Chapoutier Banyuls 2011 – Surprisingly deep red color, features black plum and black rasperry aromas with adequate intensity of flavor but rather cloying texture. The flavors are simple and somewhat sugary, intruding on the fruit. This is a little dull. It accompanied but was overwhelmed by a chocolate dessert. A disappointment from a producer who rarely goes wrong in Roussillon. Rated 81.5.