No matter how grand or small, every wine cellar needs a few outright crowd-pleasers, and the 2012 Calandray fills the bill to perfection. When mixed company arrives (aficionados and non-aficionados, that is), this is the wine to bring out, as I have yet to find anybody who can resist this modestly-priced red's supple, fruity charms, myself included. It is produced by the Cave Cooperative of Maury, rated by wine critic Robert Parker as "one of the best cooperative wineries in the South of France." For this wine, the Maury coop, famous for making the sweet Maury doux, has collaborated with Jean-Luc Thunevin, the father of the Bordeaux garagiste movement (devoted to the production of highly distinctive small production red wines). This dry, medium-bodied red offers oodles of bing cherry/strawberry fruit, nuanced by notes of fresh ground pepper, new earth, and smoke, with just the barest suggestion of sweet, ripe plums on the finish. Ready to enjoy now with red meats, grilled poultry, BBQ, and pasta. --Ben Giliberti, CW Director of Wine Education
Displaying a luminous golden-yellow color with a continuous thread of delicate, pinpoint bubbles, this all Chardonnay Blanc the Blanc offers an ultra-refined level of purity and intensity. A citrus, apple and butter nose blends with the aromatic hints of fresh almonds and candied lemon. The palate impression is utterly clean and precise, its creaminess punctuated only by airy clouds of bubbles. This 100% Chardonnay cuve%u0301e is made using the Co%u0302te des Blancs signature crus: Avize, Cramant, Mesnil-sur-Oger, Oger and Vertus. Reserve wines constitute a full 40% of the blend.
Champagne Barons de Rothschild is a unique joint venture by all three branches of the Rothschild family, Lafite, Mouton, and Clarke. Their brut cuvée exudes a bouquet of cut pear, almonds and fresh hazelnuts, married to hints of white flowers and warm buttermilk biscuit. The style reflects a complex assemblage (blend) of 60% Chardonnay, drawn primarily Grands Crus in the Cote des Blancs, and 40% Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, drawn mainly from vineyards in Verzenay, Ay, Mareuil-sur-Ay and Bouzy. This blend includes 40% older reserve wines, a mark of exceptional quality and consistency that the Rothschild team has established for this cuvée.
With an unusually high portion of Chardonnay for a Rosé, this Rosé is exceptionally refined. Brilliant salmon in color with pale pink highlights, this opens with red berry and citrus aromas, followed on the palate by melting flavors of light raspberry, strawberry and a hint of Corton-like minerality. Finishes quite crisp and dry. This Rose%u0301 is a blend of over 85% Chardonnay from the main Cote des Blanc crus of Avize, Cramant, Mesnil-sur-Oger, and Vertus, with Pinots Noirs of the Montagne de Reims, including a small percentage (5 to 6%) vinified as a red wine. The blend contains 40% reserve wine.