Saturday, March 01, 2008

Friday Night Bubbles

NV François Pinon Vouvray Brut, $21, Louis/Dressner Selections. I remember when this bottle cost about $16 about a year or two ago. It's still a good value - they've all gone up in price, not just this one. But still, I have this silly block about paying more than $20 for sparkling wine that is not Champagne...

Like all Vouvray, this wine is made using Chenin Blanc grapes. Unlike some of the other Loire Valley sparkling wine I've tasted recently, this one is actually quite elegant and very dry. For example, the Chidaine Montlouis-sur-Loire Brut we had recently was distractingly tropical and full of bells and whistles on the nose, and was not to our liking.

I'm not trying to disrespect Loire Valley sparkling wines. I've enjoyed many of them - Foreau's Vouvray Brut, Huet's Brut, and Chidaine's Montlouis Brut in earlier bottlings. The more I drink sparkling wine, though, the more I learn about my palate, and these days I find that
I'm preferential to sparklers from the Jura if I'm not drinking Champagne. Probably because I don't find Chenin Blanc to be as satisfying as Chardonnay or Pinot Noir when acting as the base for a sparkling wine. But then again, maybe I would enjoy them more if I stopped comparing everything that sparkles to Champagne...

This sparkler from Pinon was a lovely surprise. Nothing fancy, just clean and fresh sparkling wine. An elegant nose of citrus with fleeting hints of flowers, although several hours later the floral component was more established. The palate was lean and almost completely dry, with clean and pure citrus flavors with bits of mineral and bread poking their heads in the door every now and then. The last glass featured some quince/apple flavors that are familiar to me from the still wines of Vouvray. A lovely aperitif, and a nice accompaniment to a simple earthy appetizer like red lentil soup with lemon and mint, for example.

11 comments:

Marco said...

I agree with you on this. The cremants from Limoux are much better. Maison Guinot is excellent if you ever come across it. Afterall, in Limoux they were making sparkling wines before Dom Perignon.

Marcus said...

Under $20 sparklers is a Montreal specialty. Moncontour and Monmousseau are good Chenin Blanc based bubblies but Bguy you might prefer the Crémant de Bourgogne: Cave de Viré and Moingeon are about $20 after tax.

For zesty but steely fizz, I too would echo the call for Crémant de Limoux, especially from Laurens. His Clos des Demoiselles in 2003 and 2004 was excellent toasty, minerally stuff.

So coming to Montreal soon? I've got a Laurens chilling in the fridge. (Meanwhile I'm also getting ready to explore San Diego and the coast -- any recommendations you haven't posted to your blog? I've noted Café Chloe for instance, it's not far from where I am staying.)

Cheers

Vinotas said...

Sacre Bleu! You cheating on Champagne?! Just kidding, sounds lovely, though I still do prefer Champagne for my bubbly.

And as to what Marco above said, Limoux is nice but it's no Champagne. I tasted more than my share in July in the Languedoc and only a few really rocked my boat.
Cheers!

Joe said...

Had Jura, never a Cremant de Jura. You certainly are making a strong pitch, but aren't they extremely difficult to find?

Brooklynguy said...

Hi Marco - Never tried one but between you and Marcus recommending them, I'll keep my eyes open.

Hey Marcus - well, there's no way to afford a France vacation nowadays at 1.54 dollars per euro. we are deciding what to do. in any case, thanks for your recommendations of the bubblies. i have yet to taste a cremant de bourgogne that i like enough to pay attention to. i'm going to try a limoux though.

For more san diego stuff look at do bianchi - he posted something about his recent trip that i found to be interesting. why sdiego anyway?

hi vino-TAS! welcome back. from what i read, you had quite a trip. and i bet there's a lot that wasn't suitable for publication...for me its not cheating. i would drink champs every night but i can't so i also have to try various sparkling wines. what is your favorite non champs bubbly?

hey joe - i dunno in mont-royale, but here in nyc my locals each carry a bottle. i hope you can find something because i understand the dearth of grower champs in montroyale and this actually might be the closest you'll get. naturally made chardonnay bubbly from the jura...

Vinotas said...

Hey B-Guy!

If I have to have a non-Champagne bubbly, I do enjoy some Cremants de Bourgogne as well as some Limoux. And let's not forget, there are some artisanal Prosecco makers out there. Can't recall any off the top of my head but T Edward distributes some (I think).
Cheers!

Marco said...

I second what Marcus says about the Laurens from Limoux. Dry, very pleasant acidity with some lemon notes. No, it's not Champagne. I never said it was. It's also under $20. Good Champagne starts at $30 or more, depending upon how good good is.

Brooklynguy said...

thanks y'all for the Limoux and other ideas. i want to ID 5 reliable sparkling wines that cost $20 or less, preferably different styles of wine. i just cannot afford to drink Champs as often as i'd like to drink sparkling wine.

Félicien Breton said...

I have had the NV Vouvray Brut bottling several times over the past year. The grapes that went into my batch were harvested in 2004. Your description is very pleasant reading. It fits my sensations.
I would just add that the wine always presents a cutting acidity. This is convenient for food matching but forbids the use at dessert.
Here is a list of where to find wines by François Pinon in the USA.

Brooklynguy said...

hey felicien - thanks for your comments, and for the list.

Scott Kieser said...

This was running about 15 dollars a bottle on the west cost as late as July. Maybe you should find another wine shop?

If you are still looking for reliable sparklers, find a Trader Joes and look for the LaCheteau Vouvray Brut. It has a nice honeyed sweetness on the initial attack that quickly gives way to pear, apple and toast flavors. It finishes with a good deal of acidity, but it is never bracing. It costs a whopping 10 dollars and beat the pants of sparklers with heavy hitting names like Champalou and Baumard. I agree that Chenin doesn't make great bubblies as a whole, but this one is really quaffable and really cheap. Trader Joes will also refund your money if you dislike it.