Showing posts with label Cremant. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cremant. Show all posts

Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer Wine: Côté Mas Crémant de Limoux Rosé NV Brut St. Hilaire

Continuing our series of pink wines for Spring and summer, here is another one hailing from the south of France, and it brings bubbles. That makes for a festive way to celebrate the warmer months.

Domaines Paul Mas winemaker Jean-Claude Mas is a fourth-generation vintner who took over the wine production for the winery in 2000. He has helped the domaine grow from an 86-acre estate to a 1,000-acre business in the Languedoc region in the south of France.

The Paul Mas website explains that Jean-Claude makes "wines with authenticity and refinement, the end result of which is a family of magnificently charming wines that burst with personality and express their unique terroir."

The grapes used in making the Côté Mas Crémant de Limoux Rosé NV Brut St. Hilaire are primarily Chardonnay (70%) with 20% Chenin Blanc and a 10% splash of Pinot Noir. Stainless steel fermentation is followed by a secondary fermentation in the bottle, then comes a year of aging. The wine has an alcohol content of only 12% abv and sells at retail for $19.

It looks as beautiful and elegant as a sparkling rosé should - pale salmon with fine bubbles. The nose is a basket of summer fruit. The strawberry aromas include an herbal note as if the fruit is still on the plant. A bit of apricot and a hint of orange peel decorates the main event. The tastes of summer are just as prevalent as the aromas. Cherries, strawberries and a few raspberries go arm in arm with a lovely expression of minerality and citrus. It couldn't have come along in a better season.

Friday, January 17, 2014

They Often Call Me Champagne, But My Real Name Is M. Crémant

This may not be looked upon by some as a great or fitting bubbly with which to ring in the new year, but I have found that inexpensive wines are often vastly underrated.  The Blason de Bourgogne Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Reserve is a ten-dollar wine at a Trader Joe's, where some great deals on under-the-radar wines can be found.

This came to us in a gift basket from the mom-in-law on our holiday trip to Las Vegas.  I was not expecting a new wonder of the world here, but was hopeful upon popping the cork that it would add some cheer to the year's end.

Blason de Bourgogne is a cooperative which, as they say, "represents 800 winegrowing families throughout the region, from Chablis in the North to Mâcon in the South, passing through Beaune in the centre.  Each and every wine provides a glimpse of the character of Burgundy, thus together they paint the whole glorious picture."

This sparkling wine is called crémant, since it is not produced in Champagne.  It hails from another part of Burgundy around the village of Saint-Bris.  The Crémant de Bourgogne AOC designation was created in 1975 for the white and rosé sparkling wines of Burgundy produced in the traditional method outside of Champagne.

It's a rather unusual sparkler, in that it is made from Pinot Noir and Gamay grapes, according to the Blason website.  I have seen references to the inclusion of Chardonnay and Aligoté grapes as well.  Alcohol is very reasonable, at 12%.  Aging in the bottle lasts for one year.

This sparkler pours up very bubbly with large bubbles, settling into fine ones.  Fruit and a little yeast make a festive nose, as if the bubbles need any help in the festive department.  Pears, peaches and apples are the big show on the palate, with a touch of toast and a little blast of earthiness offering backup.  The wine is very dry and plenty of fireworks are provided by an outstanding level of acidity.

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Monday, August 2, 2010


Piccini Chianti

The Los Angeles restaurant, Bulan Thai Vegetarian Kitchen, was the starting point for quite an enjoyable night of friends, food and wine.  Tricia and Rob met us at Bulan, where we ate fantastic appetizers until we were stuffed – and until it got so loud that we were literally shouting at each other to be heard over the racket!  The ladies strolled down the street to Frankie's to stake out some spots at the bar, while Rob and I took care of the food bill.  At Frankie's, we laughed and enjoyed the company of our bartender, Adam, who contributed wine facts, baseball stats and music to our evening.  Some guy named Craig drifted in and out of the scene fairly quickly, and that was probably for the best.  He didn't realize the ladies were spoken for.

At Bulan, we brought our own – a rosé and a sparkler which are both French – and at Frankie's I sampled a few reds from their by-the-glass list to finish the evening.

The rosé is La Vieille Ferme, Recolte 2008.  I had previously enjoyed their white wine.  This pink - from Côtes du Ventoux - is produced by Jean Pierre Perrin – of Chateau de Beaucastel fame - and stands at 13% abv.  The wine is a blend of 50% Cinsault, 40% Grenache and 10% Syrah.  It shows a good strawberry red color in the glass which is quite reminiscent of a Spanish rosado.  Strawberries on the nose lead to a full mouth which is also dominated by strawberry, raspberry and some great earthy notes.  It's a dry rose – not bone dry, but it pairs very well with Thai food.

We also had Parigot Cremant de Bourgogne at the table.  The 100% Pinot Noir bubbly has a lovely, earthy nose and notes of toast and berries.  It's very bubbly and lightly hued in a soft pink.  The fruity taste and effervescence make it quite refreshing and palate-cleansing.

At Frankie's, Adam the bartender provided me with a memorable Chianti and a few samples of some less-than-memorable reds.  He also got an assist for taking part in a time-honored bar tradition: the sports dispute.  Rob and I were wondering who was the first baseball player to earn $100,000.  Adam hit the cell phone and informed us it was Joe DiMaggio.  That's only partially correct.  Joltin' Joe was the first American Leaguer to get a six-figure salary, in 1950.  Hank Greenberg hit that mark in 1947, though, with the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League.  The wines Adam had to offer were a mixed bag, too.

The Piccini Tuscany Chianti 2008 was a delight, showing a nose of violets and minerals.  It's extremely smooth with good tannins and strong finish.  The blend is 95% Sangiovese and 5% Ciliegiolo.  Big cherry notes and a nice smokiness that lingers on the finish really make this wine stand out.  They call this DOCG wine “Chianti Orange,” and it is a considerable source of pride for Tenute Piccini.  Winemaker Antonella Conti gets a big thumbs up from me for producing this fantastic wine.

The Kenwood Vineyard wines Adam poured were not as impressive.  Their Zinfandel – blended with 8% Petite Sirah – has a black cherry streak a mile wide and a ton of spice flavors.  I found it be a bit fake tasting and overdone, though.  The Kenwood Cabernet Sauvignon has small amounts of Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec in the blend.  Pencil shavings on the nose with currants and plums on the palate were nice to find, but they couldn't lift the wine up above average.