Champagne & Sparkling Wine Club - November 2012
Learn the finer points to many of our Wine of the Month Club. Our club wines are expertly researched and selected for quality, value and uniqueness and every one has an interesting history. Here are some of the wines we are offering this month:
Dopff & Irion - France
NV Crémant D’ Alsace Brut
The Irion and the Dopff families were already wine connoisseurs in the 16th century and have been closely involved in the fortunes of the village of Riquewihr throughout the ages. The firm of Dopff & Irion was established when Rene Dopff joined fortunes with the widowed Madame Irion. Rene Dopff was the first to have faith in the concept of “terroir,” the restructuring of the vineyard by dividing it into five “domains” or estates, and then planting each one with the most suitable grape variety. Dopff & Irion believe that each of the terroirs should be studied and managed independently. Therefore, the grapes and the rootstock are planted according to the nature of the soil and the direction in which the vineyard is facing. These sites produce exceptionally distinguished, classy wines whose personality and pedigree are further enhanced by the complex flavors contributed by these incomparable terroirs. Located in Riquewihr, the jewel of the Alsace vineyard, the village is an object of enchantment that has lasted for centuries. Its layout and structure have not changed since the Middle Ages, and the people who live here haven’t changed much either, with a lifestyle that revolves around the industry of wine making. The 68-acre vineyard worked by Dopff & Irion is extremely well-situated. With the different types of soil and the varied climate, the estate is able to produce rich, powerful and complex wines. Crémant is a sparkling wine made from several different grape varieties using the traditional method. Pinot Blanc and l’Auxerrois are used more than any other for Blanc de Blancs but more and more Crémants are now being made from Riesling, Tokay Pinot-Gris, Pinot Noir (for Blancs de Noir and Rosé). The grapes are pressed whole and the base wine obtained is kept in tanks for approximately six months before it is bottled and yeast added for the sparkle to develop. The wine is kept on wooden laths for 12 to 15 months before the sediment is removed. The history of sparkling wine production in Alsace is said to go back to around the year 1900, when Julien Dopff is said to have applied the "champagne method" to his own Alsatian wines with satisfactory results. This Brut is comprised of 50% Pinot Blanc and 50% Pinot Auxerrois. It pours a pale-yellow color with fine and light bubbles. The nose is characterized by fruit aromas such as green apple or lemon. The flavor is round and elegant. Well-balanced and perfectly dry, it has fine, persistent, lasting bubbles. It makes a refined aperitif or cocktail wine and is ideal for receptions. Its freshness and finesse make it a wine that can be enjoyed throughout a meal, even with dessert.
Zonin – Italy
NV Brut Rosé
The Zonin family has been making wine since 1821 and currently operates Italy's largest privately owned vineyard and winemaking complex. Because their story dates back almost 200 years it has touched the lives of seven generations of Zonins. It includes love for the land and for wine, enriched by years of experience and an in-depth knowledge of the sector, as well as an intimate relationship with the historic, cultural and human aspects of each individual territory. This, then, is the precious legacy handed down to the new generation that is now taking the reins. The Zonin Family thus guarantees that the whole process of growing and vinifying the grapes, as well as the maturation, storage and bottling of the wines themselves, can be carried out at the place of origin. The Family also takes pains to preserve not only the beauty and unspoilt nature of the landscape, but also the salubriousness of the environment and the finished product. Today, the Company has over 1,800 hectares of land under vine in Italy. This Rosé is made from 100% Nerello Mascalese. The must is obtained from softly pressing the grapes during the first stage of the fermentation at a controlled temperature of 18°C. (Nerello Mascalese is a lightly colored red grape that is processed without the grape skins resulting in a light strawberry blonde color). The wine is then decanted into a pressurised stainless steel tanks where the secondary formation occurs to create bubbles in accordance with the traditional Charmat method. The result is a lightly-colored sparkling rosé with a fine and seductively delicate perlage.The nose is pleasant, intense and fruity, evoking memories of wisteria flowers and Renetta apples. On the palate it is soft and smooth with floral notes and a hint of almond. Excellent as an aperitif and an ideal accompaniment to hors d’oeuvres risottos, fragrant fried food and grilled fish.
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