Tue 28 Dec 2010
Sparkling pinot noir from Piedmont?
This is a new product from Vigne Regali, founded as Bruzzone Cellars in 1860 in Strevi, a town in northeast Piedmont. The Mariani family, of Castello Banfi, in the Brunello di Montalcino region of Tuscany, purchased Bruzzone in 1979. The winery is best known for its enchanting sparkling red wine Rosa Regale, made from the brachetto grape.
The Vigne Regali Cuvée Aurora Rosé is made from pinot noir grapes grown in Piedmont’s Alta Langa region. This tantalizing sparkler is fashioned in the tradizionale classico or champagne method of second fermentation in the bottle, after which it rests for a two-year period of yeast contact followed by the traditional hand-riddling — gradually turning the bottles so that the neck is pointing down — and the final disgorgement, that is the expelling of the yeast residue.
This is an incredibly charming and elegant sparkling wine. The color is lightly tarnished copper over silver salmon scale; the foaming surge of tiny glinting bubbles is hypnotic. First one sniffs smoke, red raspberry and dried red currants; then come orange rind, a touch of lime sherbet, melon ball and a slight yeasty, bready element. The wine is crisp, dry, lively, clean and fresh, a tissue of delicacies that add up to a supple, engaging structure — close to pert yet almost creamy — buoyed by an increasingly prominent limestone minerality. The finish brings in hints of cloves and pomegranate and a smooth conjunction where limestone turns into damp shale; do I imagine a beguiling whiff of rose and lilac? No, it’s there. Completely delightful but not at all frivolous. 11.5 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $30.
Imported by Banfi Vintners, Old Brookville, N.Y. A sample for review.