Sun 3 Jan 2010
One of the most gratifying aspects of producing the “Twelves Days of Christmas with Champagne and Sparkling Wine” series lies in the discovery of new or different products that bring knowledge and delight, to readers, I hope, as well as to me and LL (who would not allow me to taste anything sparkling without her participation).
Such a discovery is the Château des Vaults Brut Sauvage, from the renowned Domaine du Closel in the tiny Savennières appellation in the central Loire Valley. Southwest of the medieval city of Angers, this area, part of the Anjou-Saumur region, is the cradle, the homeland of chenin blanc, which supplies 85 percent of the grapes for this wine, designated Crémant de Loire; the other 15 percent is cabernet franc, obviously quickly taken off their dark purple skins, because the Château des Vaults Brut Sauvage reveals not the merest blush of pink. This is pale, pale, palest gold with a shadow of silver unfolded when one turns the glass in the light. “Brut Sauvage” means that after the second fermentation in the bottle — the heart of the champagne method — the wine receives no dosage, the final topping off with sugar that determines the sweetness of a sparkling wine. Rather, sans dosage, this is bone-dry yet not distant or austere. Aromas of yeast and fresh biscuits support hints of macerated peach and baked pear and a wispy scent of a shy white flower. In the mouth, a delicate line of lemon, lime peel and toasted hazelnuts threads through what feels like liquid, effervescent limestone. The whole effect is sleek and elegant, real yet evanescent; it’s quite a beauty. Excellent, and a Bargain at about $18. Limited distribution, so mark it also Worth a Search.
LDM Wines Imports (Louis/Dressner), New York.
This was a sample bottle for review.