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December Wine Focus: Wine 403 - Champagne & its components

by David M. Bueker » Tue Nov 30, 2021 8:35 pm

Well we have reached the end of 2021, and it’s time for our final Wine Focus. We have been blending for the last couple of months, and that’s largely what we are trying to do in December. The typical Champagne blends of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, but with a nod to Pinot Meslier, Pinot Blanc, etc. as potential components in the blend.

To supplement our December Wine Focus we will also allow still versions of any of the permitted Champagne grapes, even if not from Champagne! Got a Chardonnay you want to open? Have at it! Itching for Pinot Blanc? Go for it! It’s the holiday season, so let’s call it a free for all!
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Re: December Wine Focus: Wine 403 - Champagnes & its compone

by Robin Garr » Tue Nov 30, 2021 8:56 pm

Heh, that opens it up. I’ve got a Pinot Nero bubbly from Friuli-Venezia Giulia ready to post.
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Re: December Wine Focus: Wine 403 - Champagnes & its compone

by David M. Bueker » Tue Nov 30, 2021 10:02 pm

Robin Garr wrote:Heh, that opens it up. I’ve got a Pinot Nero bubbly from Friuli-Venezia Giulia ready to post.


Go for it!
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Re: December Wine Focus: Wine 403 - Champagnes & its compone

by Pat G » Wed Dec 01, 2021 8:32 pm

Just might open a Chardonnay or a Rose' of Pinot Noir. Both might fit here and are planned for 2021. Sometimes late 2021 slides into 2022....

December Cheers! Stay warm!
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Re: December Wine Focus: Wine 403 - Champagnes & its compone

by Robin Garr » Fri Dec 03, 2021 10:10 am

We took this to a Thanksgiving gathering with a full spread and pretty much enjoyed it with everything.

Scarpetta Timido Rosé Vino Spumante Brut ($14.99)

Scarpetta Timido Rosé Vino Spumante Brut is a crisp, dry, pale-pink sparkling wine from Friuli Venezia Giulia in northeastern Italy. Its dry, crisp flavor with subtle notes of berries made a great accompaniment to Thanksgiving dinner, and it would be a fine partner with latkes, too It is pale pink in color, clear and light, a pretty hue. Foamy bubbles at first fall back quickly. Leaving few bubbles behind. Prickly carbonation remains, though, with subtle but pleasant strawberry aromas. Juicy strawberry and herbal notes appear behind tart acidity in a dry flavor, and linger in a long, minerally finish. 12% alcohol. U.S. importer: USA Wine West LLC, Sausalito, Calif. (Nov. 25, 2021)

FOOD MATCH: The winery suggests sipping it before or after a meal or serving it with salads, salumi plates, or grilled salmon; Wine-Searcher suggests meaty or oily fish.

WHEN TO DRINK: There's no point in cellaring simple but fresh bubbly like this. Drink up while it's young and fresh.

VALUE:
It's a fine value in the mid-teens; Wine-Searcher.com shows a $16 average U.S. retail.

WEB LINK:
Here's an English-language fact sheet on the Scarpetta website.

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Check prices and find vendors for Scarpetta Timido on Wine-Searcher.com.

Follow this Wine-Searcher link to find dozens of other wines from Scarpetta.
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Re: December Wine Focus: Wine 403 - Champagnes & its compone

by Jenise » Fri Dec 03, 2021 2:08 pm

Robin, that sounds great. I love everything Scarpetta.
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Re: December Wine Focus: Wine 403 - Champagnes & its compone

by Tim York » Sat Dec 04, 2021 8:29 am

Here is surprisingly good and modestly priced (c.€9) white Burgundy from the Hautes-Côtes de Beaune. I have no precise information about the varietal mix but my guess is 100% Chardonnay though the appellation does allow some Pinot blanc and gris.With the warming climate we must expect riper wines from the Hautes-Côtes rivalling the more famous names from the Côte d'Or which risk becoming too hot for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

2020 Matthieu de Brully Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune - France, Burgundy, Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune (03/12/2021)
This is surprisingly good for a one year old from a modest appellation. Eloquent on the nose and palate with a certain richness of peachy and citrus fruit, a round slightly creamy undertow and delicious fine minerality with moreish acidity and decent backbone. I fear that the store will have no more more of what was probably a limited offer for the Foire aux Vins. Very good.
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Re: December Wine Focus: Wine 403 - Champagnes & its compone

by David M. Bueker » Sat Dec 04, 2021 1:08 pm

  • 2015 Matthiasson Pinot Meunier Yount Mill Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley (12/3/2021)
    Surprisingly deep fruit on the palate for a wine with only 11.1% alcohol, it actually showed deep plum, which was a total shock. I was expecting something much redder, maybe in the strawberry vein. That said there was still a bright acidic frame, but well balanced to the fruit. Earthy notes came in on the finish, but not in any way overpowering the fruit. It was just a nice accent. Fun wine that I wish I had more of.
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Re: December Wine Focus: Wine 403 - Champagnes & its compone

by Rahsaan » Sat Dec 04, 2021 3:42 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:
  • 2015 Matthiasson Pinot Meunier Yount Mill Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley (12/3/2021)
    Surprisingly deep fruit on the palate for a wine with only 11.1% alcohol, it actually showed deep plum, which was a total shock. I was expecting something much redder, maybe in the strawberry vein. That said there was still a bright acidic frame, but well balanced to the fruit. Earthy notes came in on the finish, but not in any way overpowering the fruit. It was just a nice accent. Fun wine that I wish I had more of.


That does sound good/interesting. Deep fruit with bright acids and 11.1% from Napa Valley. I'm sure the grape played a role, but just goes to show that there are many ways to make wine from the same place.
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Re: December Wine Focus: Wine 403 - Champagnes & its compone

by David M. Bueker » Sat Dec 04, 2021 4:33 pm

Rahsaan wrote:
David M. Bueker wrote:
  • 2015 Matthiasson Pinot Meunier Yount Mill Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley (12/3/2021)
    Surprisingly deep fruit on the palate for a wine with only 11.1% alcohol, it actually showed deep plum, which was a total shock. I was expecting something much redder, maybe in the strawberry vein. That said there was still a bright acidic frame, but well balanced to the fruit. Earthy notes came in on the finish, but not in any way overpowering the fruit. It was just a nice accent. Fun wine that I wish I had more of.


That does sound good/interesting. Deep fruit with bright acids and 11.1% from Napa Valley. I'm sure the grape played a role, but just goes to show that there are many ways to make wine from the same place.


Steve Matthiasson is a genius in the vineyard. That makes for high, consistent quality, with the occasional brilliant, unusual highlight. He does do some unusual things that aren’t always so successful, but it’s a fun ride.
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Re: December Wine Focus: Wine 403 - Champagnes & its compone

by Jenise » Sun Dec 05, 2021 11:23 am

A bottle of NV Moutard Père et Fils Champagne Brut Grande Cuvée got left here by a friend who was moving to Texas and didn't want to ship bottles with explosion potential. No idea how old it is. It was pale, almost colorless, and surprisingly coarse in texture with big loopy bubbles. Not much flavor either; had we opened it at home (we took it to a restaurant and didn't have a backup), I'd have dumped it. That was Friday night.

On Saturday night, to celebrate the purchase of a new dishwasher (not easy if want a German brand), we tried again with a NV Louis Roederer Brut Premier that I bought in 2014. Golden color as befits some bottle age with super fine pin-prick bubbles and a gentle mousse. Exquisite flavors, especially compared to the Moutard.
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Re: December Wine Focus: Wine 403 - Champagnes & its compone

by John S » Sun Dec 05, 2021 6:09 pm

Not a champagne, but a local sparkling - 57% Pinot Noir, 39% Chardonnay, 4% Pinot Gris.
  • 2017 Blue Mountain Brut (Gold Label) - Canada, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley (2021-12-05)
    Disgorged 08/2020. The first few pours showed a very frothy sparkling that was rather acidic and aggressive in nature. As it got air and warmed up this harshness dissipated and the slightly toasty, apple and cirtus flavours emerged a bit. Additional time in the cellar might help here. (B/B+)
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Re: December Wine Focus: Wine 403 - Champagnes & its compone

by Peter May » Mon Dec 06, 2021 12:08 pm

20211205_Chapel-Down-Brut.jpg
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N.V. Chapel Down Brut (United Kingdom, England, Kent)

I open a sparkling wine every Sunday as an aperitif. It used to always be Champagne but this year the ratio of Champagne in my cellar declined to less than half my fizz. I have been increasingly fond of fizz made from other than the Pinot family, Chenin and Mauzac especially.

However this one - although not from Champagne - fulfils the criteria of the thread. Varieties are not mentioned on the label or on the website until one clicks on the link to a fact sheet which says it's a blend of four of the Champagne varieties - 48% Chardonnay,42% Pinot Noir,5% Pinot Meunier,5% Pinot Blanc.

English Sparkling Wine has exploded recently, with many more wineries making fizz by the traditional method and two Champagne houses have bought land and planted vines. One has already released an ESW, though from bought in grapes while their own vines mature.

Chapel Down started in 1992 and moved to their Tenterden base in 1997 by acquiring a winery and vineyard established in 1977. They have been expanding since, both in vineyards and products and are now the largest producer of English wine.

The first thing to notice about this wine is the incredible mousse of the tiniest bubbles on pouring a glass. It is classic in taste, dry refreshing and reminiscent of ripe Conference pears.

It's indistinguishable from Champagne - but is that a good thing?
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Re: December Wine Focus: Wine 403 - Champagnes & its compone

by Rahsaan » Mon Dec 06, 2021 12:35 pm

Peter May wrote:It's indistinguishable from Champagne - but is that a good thing?


If you mean the quality is up to what would expect from a good Champagne grower, then surely that's a good thing.

But are you suggesting that it somehow tastes artificial and not of its place? There is no one 'Champagne' taste afterall. And it's not like one wouldn't expect similarities based on the climate. We're not exactly comparing sparkling wine from Champagne and Morocco.
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Re: December Wine Focus: Wine 403 - Champagnes & its compone

by Peter May » Mon Dec 06, 2021 1:54 pm

David M. Bueker wrote: final Wine Focus.


Final? Say it ain't so, David!

2022 is about on us......
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Re: December Wine Focus: Wine 403 - Champagnes & its compone

by David M. Bueker » Mon Dec 06, 2021 6:53 pm

Don’t worry. I have a plan for 2022.
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Re: December Wine Focus: Wine 403 - Champagnes & its compone

by Robin Garr » Mon Dec 06, 2021 9:51 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Don’t worry. I have a plan for 2022.

8)
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Re: December Wine Focus: Wine 403 - Champagne & its componen

by Jenise » Thu Dec 09, 2021 7:06 pm

We enjoyed this a few nights ago:

2019 Nichol Vineyard Extra Brut Rosé Naramata Bench Pinot Blend, British Columbia
A bone-dry blend of pinot noir and pinot meunier of undisclosed percentages, but the flavor favors the spicy elements of meunier and the fruity flavors of winter squash and underripe strawberries. Bought only two bottles at the winery a few months ago, wish I'd bought more.
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Re: December Wine Focus: Wine 403 - Champagne & its componen

by David M. Bueker » Thu Dec 09, 2021 8:24 pm

  • 2016 Division Winemaking Company Chardonnay "Trois" Johan Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Eola - Amity Hills (12/9/2021)
    What a couple of years in the cellar can do for these wines. The flinty/reductive note is gone, and it’s developed a mid-palate depth that takes the bright start and racy finish to another level. Fresh Golden Delicious apple fruit (picked at the farm, not from a grocery store!) with a dash of spice, it finished with a saline wash that then reverberates the spice. I drink so many of my Division bottles early. This is a good reminder to give them some extra time.
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Re: December Wine Focus: Wine 403 - Champagne & its componen

by David M. Bueker » Sat Dec 11, 2021 1:04 pm

  • NV Eric Rodez Champagne Grand Cru Cuvée des Grands Vintages - France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru (12/10/2021)
    L04-2020, so presumably an early 2020 disgorgement

    True to the winey, deep style of this wine, there's a lot of mid-palate depth, and a very long, almost weighty finish. Not a lot of fruit, but I never find much fruit to this cuvee - it goes more to nutty/toasty. I like the evolved style without anything feeling truly aged. It's a wine wise beyond its years.
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Re: December Wine Focus: Wine 403 - Champagne & its componen

by David M. Bueker » Sat Dec 11, 2021 5:55 pm

  • 2018 Vincent Chardonnay Tardive - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley (12/11/2021)
    OK, this is crazy. With no planning on my part, I am opening a bottle exactly one year after the last one on 12/11/2020. This time I put it in the decanter mid-afternoon. Two hours later as I prep dinner, it still shows flinty, but not aggressively so. The crunchy fruit and delicate spice have room to shine. The wine starts with a preview of richness, but it’s held in check by bright acidity. There is a tiny bit of roundness on the finish, but it’s more like a delicate sanding off the edges. I really wish I had bought a lot of this wine.
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Re: December Wine Focus: Wine 403 - Champagne & its componen

by David M. Bueker » Tue Dec 14, 2021 7:51 pm

  • 2018 Patricia Green Cellars Chardonnay Durant Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills (12/14/2021)
    I have spent the last several days exploring recent release Chardonnays from Oregon. This one is different from the rest. For starters it does not have the obvious reductive/flinty element on the nose. It also has a touch more creaminess in the mid-palate and finish, enough that it is notable. There’s a subtle spice as well, and overall as a package it feels more complete in terms of readiness to drink, even if it is still very young.

    I really like it.
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Re: December Wine Focus: Wine 403 - Champagne & its componen

by Peter May » Wed Dec 15, 2021 6:50 am

pongracz-small.png
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N.V. Pongrácz Methode Cap Classique Cuvée Brut (South Africa, Western Cape)

A delicious fizz, a blend of Pinot Noir & Chardonnay made at The House of J C LeRoux, South Africa's only winery making solely sparkling wines. Richer and more opulent thanks to the warmer climate than Champagne.

JCLeRoux-Peter-small.jpg
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We’ve had many bottles of this, and bought half-bottles from the winery (see above) when staying in the Cape for having anytime. Amazon used to stock this but it’s been unavailable for some months now. Delicious in a classy bottle. Its name honours Desiderius Pongrácz, a refugee from Hungary who became pioneering South African wine maker.
jcLeRoux-ice-bath-small.jpg
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Methode Cap Classique (MCC) is the term used it indicate a wine made by second fermentation in the bottle in which it's sold, though the other limits that rule Champagne are not in force, so MCC wine can be made from any grape variety. Above photo shown the ice-bath at J C Le Roux used to freeze the neck of bottles prior to disgorgement

Surprisingly, given that they've been making wine for more than 350 years, wine made by secondary bottle fermentation was first made in 1971 (by Simonsig, following the owner's trip to Champagne) making this year the 50th anniversary of this type of wine. That's not to say that the Cape didn't make sparkling wines before then. Indeed a large output of cheaper fizz currently produced by J C Le Roux is made by a method about which they are very coy, but is actually CO2 injection.
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Re: December Wine Focus: Wine 403 - Champagne & its componen

by David M. Bueker » Wed Dec 15, 2021 9:20 am

Interesting history Peter.
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