Ok, so after all my talk of Valentine’s Day and the unauthentic splurges it generates like so many embers from a fire of burning love letters after a bitter break-up, I thought I’d go the total hypocrite route and (finally) detail the samples I cracked open on V-Day. So sue me. Whatever.
NV Bollinger Brut Rosé Champagne ($100)
I’m going to ignore Bollinger’s PR push to promote their affiliation to the royal family in the UK (who have awarded Bollinger with the Royal Warrant since 1884, and which is now reached a fever-pitch of hype with the recent royal engagement), because I now find the whole thing too annoying, in stark contrast to this very sexy but possibly-overpriced sparkler. It’s predominantly Pinot Noir, with the Chardonnay and Pinot Munier playing more supporting roles, and the results are quite Pinot-ish as you’d expect, with the initial impressions being tart cherry fruit and a sizeable mouthfeel despite a relatively modest 12% abv. This might explain why it got low-90s scores from most of the established wine mags, who might have been too quick to pronounce judgment – it takes a good 45 minutes in the glass for the Bollinger Brut Rose to open up, but when it does you will get some incredible baked red apple coming at you, and a great match for appetizers of almost any stripe.
More after the jump…
2006 Napa Angel “Aurelio’s Selection” Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley, $90)
I am finding it very difficult to believe this is a first vintage for Napa Angel, despite the Montes pedigree behind it. In a word, it’s stunning. The fruit is from Oak Knoll and Yountville, and it’s heavy on the blackberries and black cherries, yet somehow gets just enough acidity to balance out, counter the 14.8% abv and deftly avoid fruit-bomb territory. The main draw, though, is the almost perfect integration of French oak – if there’s a Napa Cab with more heavenly cedar overtones than this, I’ve yet to taste it. About 4K cases made. Expect to have your ass kicked.
2005 Klein Constantia Vin de Constance (Constantia, $50 500ml)
The 2005 of this sweet, luscious South African nectar set an almost impossible bar for Klein Constantia, but the 2005 stands up to its older sibling quite admirably. Muscat de Frontignan (a.k.a. muscat blanc á petits grains) is the variety, and while this vintage is a bit more honeysuckle, lime & tea leaf and less tangerine and orange rind than the 2004, I’m not complaining. Not one bit. Rounding out the sexiness are a gorgeous golden hue, a fascinating history behind the resurrection of the style at Constantia (let’s not forget that the likes of kings, emperors and Charles Dickens once praised this stuff), a suggestively-shaped bottle, and tons of acidity to make dessert pairing a decidedly less risky endeavor.
8 thoughts on “Heavenly Cab, Kingly Nectar And Royal Bubbly”
Awww, you really are a romantic after all…
:) When it comes to my kid (and great wine), I'm just an aging softie…
I'm not a huge fan of Rose but have to admit this sounds tasty once it opens and perhaps it will improve with age. Love the sound of the Cabernet =) Fun post to read and sounds like you had a great V-day.
Thanks, SuzieLin – I try to avoid the “I did this!” style posts but when it comes to wine on V-Day, there are fewer better ways to connect with people because it’s how most of us are experiencing the wine on that holiday! :)
That rose will *most definitely* age, btw.
Yas yas that Napa Angel be some serious sheet. Gave it the big high point score. [signed] "A critic, not a writer." hahahaha.
HA!!!! Warning: inside Wine Writers Symposium jokes in progress…
Great post :-) How do I subscribe? I'll be buying a bottle or two to age as suggested…Thanks!
Have you heard of LoveThis? I've started using it to get wine recommendations. They are looking for wine experts, you'd be great for that. Maybe worth checking them out. lovethis.com
Karl – majority of subscription links are at the top of the page. Cheers.
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