Mon 23 Jan 2012
Tasty, enjoyable, delightful wines are always a pleasure, of course, but it’s even more of a boost when there’s something unusual about them. The Patrick Bottex “La Cueille” Bugey-Cerdon, non-vintage sparkling wine, hails from Bugey, a tiny appellation in eastern France, lying between the cities of Lyon, Grenoble and Geneva, that only achieved AOC status in 2009. This sparkling wine is made in a méthode ancestrale that may precede the more famous méthode champenoise by several centuries. Cerdon is one of three crus in Bugey, and La Cueille is a mountainside village where Patrick and Catherine Bottex cultivate five hectares (13.85 acres) of vines focused primarily on the gamay grape, with some of the indigenous poulsard, from vineyards planted between 1960 and 2010. It’s a labor of love and dedication. The blend of this sparkling wine is 90 percent gamay, 10 percent poulsard.
The Patrick Bottex “La Cueille” Bugey-Cerdon sports a lovely blushing salmon-copper color and a gentle yet persistent cascade of tiny bubbles. This is pure strawberries and raspberries with rose petals and an earthy touch of briers and brambles; a few minutes in the glass bring in notes of dried cranberries, apple peel and orange zest. “La Cueille” is fresh and lively, with a texture that comes close to being dense, almost viscous, except that it’s balanced by keen acidity and brisk effervescence. It’s a bit sweet on entry, but totally dry from mid-palate back, and the finish is smoothly furnished with lime peel and limestone. Alcohol content is 8 percent, so you can drink twice as much! Not really! Completely charming. Very Good+. About $20.
Imported by Kermit Lynch, Berkeley, Cal. A sample for review.