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Wolfberger Cremant d' Alsace Brut

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 94 Points
Country:France
Region:Alsace
Grape Type:Pinot Blanc
Winery:Wolfberger
Product Description

Wolfberger Cremant d Alsace Brut NV is made with 90 % Pinot Blanc, 10% Pinot Auxerrois.

The production of sparkling wine was already known in Alsace in the early 1900's. The Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (A.O.C.) Crémant d’Alsace began with an official decree in August 1976.
 
Pale golden color. Fine, persistent bubbles. Floral nose with a hint of spiciness, gentle fruitiness (peach, apricot), and lovely balance. Fruity and lively in the palate, it has a clean and crisp finish. This wine will suit any special occasion.


Review:

""Straw color. Bright, fruity, creamy aromas of green apple pastry, peaches in cream, and lemon chiffon with a supple, tangy, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium body and an effortless, amusing, medium-long white nuts, lime-pineapple sorbet, and minerals finish with no oak. A refreshing, tangy sparkling wine that will shine at the table."
-Beverage Testing Institute, 94 pts (Exceptional)


 

Winery: Wolfberger

The Wolfberger Estate
Wolfberger is a union of producers located in Eguisheim, south of Colmar.  The city was also the home of Pope Leo IX, the Reformer (Pope from 1048 – 1054 A.D.). The winery was founded in 1902 when a group of wine-growers in Eguisheim decided to join forces to create one of the first cooperatives in Alsace. The cave counts 800 members today. Wolfberger combines tradition and constant innovation to elaborate high quality wines and preserve their typicity. 
The resident oenologist at Wolfberger is Bertrand Praz. A young but extremely capable winemaker, he learned his craft at the famous Dijon wine school and from working at the Mumm Champagne House. He has taken huge strides in raising the quality level here. They also take their evaluative wine tasting very seriously and have a highly efficient set-up for tasters. The amphitheatre style classroom has individual wine-tasting desks each with light, spit bowl and automatic water faucet.

"This huge cooperative with more than 800 members makes charming crémant sparklers and clean varietals at a bargain price." - Anthony Dias Blue's Pocket Guide to Wine 2006

"An Alsatian cooperative located just south of the town of Colmar, these are tasty, fairly priced, dry white wines from a region that could use some help." - Wine Advocate (Aug. 2010)

Wolfberger is the rare example, in the wine world, of bigger actually being better.

The Wolfberger Vineyard
With 1300 hectares (3,211 acres), 500 hectares of which are in and around Eguisheim, there is a lot of raw material for a specialty importer to choose from. Pinot Blanc has been known in Alsace since the 16th century. Today it covers 22% of the vineyards and is the second most important variety after Riesling.  It succeeds well in most soils and enjoys the dry microclimate of the area. The grapes are gathered in vineyards situated above Eguisheim and in surrounding villages. Rangen is the most southerly vineyard in Alsace and belongs to the towns of Thann and Vieux-Thann. This mountainside vineyard ranges from 340 to 470 m in altitude, and its slopes are extremely steep (up to 85%), with dark, stony soil, where harvesting resembles mountain climbing because the grape-pickers work from top to bottom, secured with harnesses and ropes. The grapes are brought down on sledges. The river Thur which flows at its base helps to preserve it from spring frosts. From the geological point of view, Rangen is immediately adjacent to the main Vosges fault and lies on the Devonian-Carboniferous volcano-clastic base. This gives a siliceous rock, more or less coarse sand, with acid and basic minerals, fertilizing elements for the soil: Ca, K, Mg, Mn, Fe, F, P, S, with trace elements. Rangen is the only vineyard

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Champagne with rich and structured aromas. Very pleasant and generous roundness, nice length in mouth. Golden color with buttery and fruity aromas. All the expression of a magnificent terroir for your most pleasurable moments.

To be a member of this Club, Champagne producers have to elaborate their Cuvées in their own facility, meaning the pressing, bottling, ridding, disgorging, etc., have to be done at the domaine/estate. Then, only the Recoltants-Manipulants are accepted. Everybody has to respect the Club’s rules to ensure the quality. These rules include: * Only vintages * Two tastings to control the quality: the first one after the blending, when the wine is still “Vin Clair” (juice) and another after the 3 years (or more) of ageing “sur lattes”. There are 26 members, each of whom can produce his Special Club with his own techniques: * blending or “monocru” (only one grape variety) * “blanc de blancs” or “blanc de noirs”; ageing from 3 to 10 years, brut or extra-brut. 4 year ageing minimum Strict selection of plots only made out of our old vineyards.



Special Club is a group of growers who taste and approve each other's chosen Champagnes before release, giving a wine with this label special cachet. This rich wine, aged for 10 years on its lees, is well textured, with fruit that still shows youth and intense apple and citrus flavors. Drink from 2022. 
- Wine Enthusiast (December 1st 2019), 94 pts


"The Special Club offers notes of brioche and poached pear on the nose and presents a rich, fresh palate of excellent textural richness and complexity. Finishes long and focused with hints of oyster shell and citrus. Overall, an outstanding Special Club from the superb 2012 vintage. This cuvée meets the rigorous production and tasting standards of the Club Trésors; it’s 100% old vine Chardonnay with 6 years sur latte." - I-WineReview (Champagne: Diversity and Change, January 2020), 95 pts

 

 Wine Enthusiast: 94 International Wine Review: 95
Jip Jip Rocks Sparkling Shiraz NV

This non vintage wine sparkles to the tune of a well balanced blend; predominantly 3 year old Shiraz aged in old French oak barrels allowing wonderful smooth integration of fruit and a rich weighty texture across the palate. This is blended with a touch of younger vintage Shiraz to bring ripe juicy varietal fruit characters to the finished wine.
Deep crimson color with brick red mousse and a fine bead. The aroma displays ripe plums, earthy notes and spice. Mouthfilling flavors of plums and prunes with hints of liquorice. Soft, creamy with a persistent cherry, chocolate and spice finish.

"Youthful spicy cherry and plum fruits on a juicy and not over-sweet palate; easily enjoyed. Diam."
- James Halliday Australian Wine Companion 2011, 87 pts


 

Rebuli Prosecco NV

Rebuli Prosecco is a noble wine with a bright straw color, made from a selection of Prosecco grapes, which highlights the flavors and perfumes of the area. It is ideal for important occasions and as an aperitif. It is also excellent with risotto and noble meat.
 

"Pretty silvery straw color. Orange, juicy lemon, peach aromas with a crisp, lightly effervescent, fruity-yet-dry medium body and a long, tangy mineral, starfruit and spice accented finish. Exceptional flavorful, balanced and stylish. A perfect aperitif."
World Wine Championship Award: GOLD MEDAL
Beverage Testing Institute - May 9th 2011 - 91 points (Exceptional)

               
"Toasty, which makes this a little more champagnelike and perhaps more familiar to consumers. Nice balance; quite refreshing."
- Washington Post (Dec 08) - VERY GOOD

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"Very pale straw. Very fine mousse. Nice elegant bead. Aromas of fresh bread dough, pear, touch of marzipan. Light attack. Semi-dry. Licorice note on palate. Soft, light. Simple, light pear flavors."
- International Wine Review (Dec 08)

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 Wine Advocate: 90
Roland Champion Champagne Cuvee Aramis Brut NV

Roland Champion Champagne Cuvee Aramis Brut is made from 70% Pinot Meunier, 20% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay.

Very nice effervescence, fine bubbles - A nose spawn with notes of mature fruits such as quince and yellow fruits jelly. Aromas of biscuits and honey at the end of the palate, which remains supple, well structured, and with a beautiful length.

Black grapes from Verneuil and Vandière in the Marne Valley, argilo-limestone soil. Chardonnay grapes from Chouilly, “Grand Cru” from the famous “Côtes des blancs”, limestone soil and subsoil.


Review:
"Brilliant pale yellow straw color. Lively, complex aromas of honeyed biscuit, buttery praline, and poached Asian pear with a supple, lively, effervescent, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and an elegant, long creme brulee, white balsamic reduced lemon, spiced nuts and tangerines, and grassy earth and minerals finish with well-integrated, fine tannins. A layered and vibrant champagne with cascading waves of fresh and mature flavors."

- Beverage Testing Institute (November 19th 2012), 95 pts

 95 Points
Colmant Brut Reserve NV

Blend: Colmant Brut Reserve NV is a blend of Pinot Noir 52%, Chardonnay 48% (Franschhoek, Robertson, Elgin, Somerset-West and Stellenbosch). 10% of the blend is made of reserve wine from the previous vintage and 12% of the base wine is barrel fermented.
Ageing: 28 months minimum on the lees at steady 13°C temperature.
Tasting: A subtle pale gold color with a very clean and elegant nose. The aroma has a gentle spicy toastiness with a lemon / yeasty perfume followed by more mature fruit. Plenty of freshness on the palate, with a good acidity which perfectly balances the yeasty depth, bready flavors and ample structure. Long smooth finish. Will develop nicely over the years.
Drinking tips: Divine as an aperitif and loyal as a party buddy, it also goes perfectly with oysters, sushis or any delicate seafood.


Reviews:


"The Brut Reserve (disgorged April 2018) was 10% fermented in French oak barrel and includes 20% reserve vintages. It spent 30 months on the lees. The well-defined, focused nose features bright citrus lemon and hints of baked bread. The palate is well balanced with a taut, crisp, citric entry. This is vivacious, very pretty and graced with lovely apricot hints on the finish. A superb MCC from Colmant. - Neal Martin"

- Vinous (August 28th 2018), 91 pts


"Fresh with leesy notes, a fine mousse and delicate palate of minerals and green citrus zest, this is a first class New World sparkler. It’s rich enough to enjoy on its own or with white meats. It’s a 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay aged on the lees for 30 months and 25% reserve wines from earlier vintages."
-International Wine Review, 91 pts


"Disgorged February 2011, the Non-vintage Brut Reserve is a blend of 52% Pinot Noir and 48% Chardonnay based on the 2008 vintages blended with reserve wines from 2007 and 2006 (25% of the blend), aged for 30 months on the lees. It has a very fine pettillance in the glass. The nose is very well defined with crushed stone, oyster shell and the subtle perfume of fine lees coming through with aeration. The palate is very crisp and lively on the entry with vibrant acidity, a citrus thread from start to finish, and though it is not a powerful Cap Classique, it is wonderfully poised with great persistence on the fresh lime and Granny Smith-tinged finish.
There are many alternatives to Champagne, and South Africa is no exception with some fine “Method Cap Classique.” Jean-Philippe Colmant hired winemaker Nicolas Follet to create a small range of impressive sparkling wines; they eschew malolactic fermentation and practice extended lees aging."
- eRobertParker.com  , 92 pts

 

Our Hunt for Colmant:

 It was day 6 in South Africa and we find ourselves outside of beautiful Cape Town, in the country near the Riebeek Kasteel area in Swartland.  Let's talk a little about my accommodations before I tell you about this amazing bubbly. We arrive at the one and only hotel in Riebeek to find out that there were not enough rooms open for all. 

We reached out to our contact at Riebeek cellars, who we will refer to as "Point Break" from now on. For those of you that have not seen the movie Point Break, this guy looked and sounded like a blonde Keanu Reeves with a Dutch accent. Anyway, Point Break tells me that they have secured a small bed and breakfast that we could use for the overflow. Sounded nice...so I opted for it. 

Upon arrival, the home was beautiful on the outside with a catchy French name, "Shades of Provence". After Point Break fiddled with the skeleton key and lock for a good 35 minutes in the rain, we finally get to see the inside of our new home. The door opened straight into the kitchen where the first thing I noticed was the mouse sh*t all over the place. It was winter there and the mice were trying to stay warm, I'm sure. Little did they know this damn place had no heat.

Besides myself and my fiancee Sylvia, there were 3 other people and a total of four rooms. At this point I knew I better drag both our suitcases up those steps and get to the best room before everyone else. At stroke-causing speed, I skipped up the steps nearly knocking Point Break on his back and went through the rooms. I settled for a nice corner room with the least amount of dirt on the concrete floor and with only one or two spider webs on the wrought iron bed post.

For dinner that night, we returned to the hotel restaurant to join the rest of our group. The 5 of us forced to stay in the bed and breakfast were in a far worse mood than everyone around us. Arriving late, we sat at the end of the dinning table and hoarded as much wine as possible to try and drink ourselves to a point where we could sleep in that disgrace of a French country side home that Point Break secured for us.

 That night, I slept with the lights on, all my clothes on, and on top of the sheets hoping to avoid spider bites. I awoke that morning to Sylvia standing over me holding what looked like a hot water knob off of the shower. "It wasn't even attached.", she said. Sylvia proceeds to take a "whore-bath" in the sink using her own packed sock as a wash cloth. It was the only thing she deemed clean. To top it off, in a brief moment of happiness she finds a hair dryer in a cabinet. She pulled it out in triumph only to realize that there was a used condom stuck to the side of it. Obviously, this is her last trip to South Africa.

 

 Vinous Antonio Galloni: 91 Wine Advocate: 92 International Wine Review: 91
Roland Champion Grand Cru Champagne Blanc de Blancs NV

Roland Champion Champagne Blanc de Blancs NV is aged for minimum 30 months (the minimum for NV is 15 months). This cuvee is made from 100% Chardonnay and is produced from the free run juice only. The current release is the result of the blend of the 2005, the 2006 and the 2007 vintage.
Fresh and delicate, its fine bubbles and wide range of aromas will be perfect as an aperitif. This Champagne will also match very well with seafood and shellfish.

dosage : 8 grams per liter
ageing : 30 months on laths
Even if it doesn't say on the label, 100% of the production is RD (Recently Disgorged)
Total Production for this Cuvée : 1,500 cases (9 liter equivalent) per year
 

Reviews:

"(L40): Light yellow-gold. Musky pear and peach pit aromas are enlivened by notes of lemon zest and chalk. Weighty but energetic, offering powerful orchard fruit flavors and hints of candied fig and lemon curd. The pear skin quality comes back strong on the clinging finish. This powerful Champagne is definitely better suited for duty at the table than for serving by itself. - Josh Raynolds" - Antonio Galloni's Vinous (Dec 2012), 91 pts


- Roger VOSS"

Wine Enthusiast (December 1st 2019), 92 pts


"Golden yellow color. Lively, fruity, toasty leesy aromas of honeyed brioche and apple tart with a satiny, tangy, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a sleek, interesting, snappy lemon curd, nougat, and chalk finish with silky, soft, fruit tannins. A classic example of blanc de blanc champagne, delicious."
- Beverage Testing institute , 93 pts

"Spiced with ground anise and ginger accents, this offers notes of poached pear, lemon meringue pie, hazelnut and stony mineral. Very elegant and well-meshed throughout, with a silky finish.  Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 1,500 cases made. –AN"
- Wine Spectator  92 pts

"This cuvée made from 100% Chardonnay offers a fresh aromatic nose of light toast, dried yellow fruit and nuances of yeast. On the palate it has a creamy mouth feel of toasted nuts and rich autolytic notes. This is a beautiful wine, rich and complex."
International Wine review  92+ pts



"Small grower. Autumn fruits dominate the aromas of this wine, which is blatantly more like a wine than we normally expect a champagne to be. Some may find that unexpected and even off-putting, while others will find it intriguingly delicious."
- Washington Post  - EXCELLENT

"Roland Champion is a small family-owned producer, now with the fourth generation, in the village of Chouilly (”shoo-ee”), which has only Grand Cru vineyards. Made from 100 percent chardonnay grapes, this Champagne offers ethereal grace and poise and harmony; if I were fighting a duel tonight, I would ask for this Champagne as my last beverage. The nose here is about the richness of warm biscuits and hazelnuts, dried fruit and spice, like a Platonic, ineffably light fruitcake; in the mouth, however, it’s about a structure that encompasses an incredible marriage of power and elegance, like the delicacy and strength of the finest bone china. And there’s something porcelain-like about this Champagne, in its notable crisp, lively character, its transparency and its slightly chalky, shale-like mineral elements. Forget the Champagnes that come on with heavy toasty, caramel qualities; here, instead, is a wealth of subtlety and nuance touched with a racy, dynamic edge. Exceptional."
Biggerthanyourhead.net 

 Vinous Antonio Galloni: 91 Wine Enthusiast: 92 Wine Spectator: 92 International Wine Review: 92 93 Points
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Wolfberger Alsace Edelzwicker 2018 (liter)

Wolfberger Alsace Edelzwicker is made from 40 % Pinot Blanc, 30% Riesling, 15% Gewurztraminer and 15 % Muscat

Edelzwicker has a nose of grilled almonds and walnuts, with a light floral hint following. The first sip shows its true character: fresh and lemony with vegetal, herbaceous flavor. It is round and easy drinking, not overpowering and finishes clean.

Each grape variety is harvested individually in early or mid-October on the most suitable date for each vineyard.

It is a good companion for food without ever dominating it. In Alsace it is served by the glass or in large jugs to partner regional specialties. In general Edelzwicker goes well with fresh salads, cold or warm starters, but also with oysters, mussels and seafood. It should always be served chilled, around 10 ° C.

Wolfberger Alsace Pinot Blanc 2018

Wolfberger Alsace Pinot Blanc is 100 percent Pinot Blanc

This clean and crisp style of wine displays delicate peach aromas with a hint of almonds. Smooth on the palate, it is balanced, with a creamy texture and a clean finish.

Wolfberger Alsace Riesling 2018

Wolfberger Alsace Riesling is 100 percent Riesling. 

Riesling is the most popular grape variety in Alsace. Racy yet slightly fruity, Wolfberger Riesling is a subtle fine wine of citrus and mineral aromas, good acidity and freshness. It has been known for being the perfect "food wine" - great with traditional Alsatian dishes such as sauerkraut, but also, thanks to their vivacity, with fish and shellfish.

A very slow-growing variety, Riesling ripens with chilly nights. The leaves are round and thick with sharp teeth.
The berries – small, green or yellow, with thick skin – grow on a short-stemmed, cylindrical, compact cluster.
The Reisling grows best in soil that isn’t too rich, with a preference for light terroirs with lots of sunshine.

After the harvest, the grapes are put into horizontal pneumatic presses where the juice is slowly extracted. After crushing the grapes, the juice (actually the must, which includes the skins, stems and seeds) is stored in different vats, then it is carefully clarified.
Fermenting in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats for 3-4 weeks.
Racking. Fining (3-4 months). Filtration and stabilization, then aging in the bottle.


Excellent with grilled fish or cooked in a sauce, and shellfish.

Wolfberger Pinot Gris Rangen de Thann 2013

Wolfberger Pinot Gris Rangen de Thann  is made from 100 percent Pinot Gris

Honey, ripe fruits and sweet spices.
Long and ripe fruit flavors, with apricot and badian hints.

The Rangen Grand Cru is located in Thann, deep in the south of Alsace. Its particular soil is made of volcano-clastic rocks that drink up the heat of the day and send it back out again at night. The composition of the soil allows the roots of the vines to drink deeply from the mineral-rich sub-soil. Its southern exposure has the advantage of refreshing, drying winds in case of dampness. The high slopes are quite steep, reaching 68% in some places, requiring that the harvest be done by abseiling or roping down. Perfect for aging, these wines will reveal even more qualities after several years in the cellar.

Pair with duck honey and balsamic vinegar, foie gras, cheese like vacherin, comte 18 months, pork aigre douce (sweet and sour), dessert with apricot.

   

Wolfberger Pinot Gris Rangen de Thann 2014

Wolfberger Pinot Gris Rangen de Thann  is made from 100 percent Pinot Gris

Honey, ripe fruits and sweet spices.
Long and ripe fruit flavors, with apricot and badian hints.

The Rangen Grand Cru is located in Thann, deep in the south of Alsace. Its particular soil is made of volcano-clastic rocks that drink up the heat of the day and send it back out again at night. The composition of the soil allows the roots of the vines to drink deeply from the mineral-rich sub-soil. Its southern exposure has the advantage of refreshing, drying winds in case of dampness. The high slopes are quite steep, reaching 68% in some places, requiring that the harvest be done by abseiling or roping down. Perfect for aging, these wines will reveal even more qualities after several years in the cellar.

Pair with duck honey and balsamic vinegar, foie gras, cheese like vacherin, comte 18 months, pork aigre douce (sweet and sour), dessert with apricot.

   

Wolfberger Riesling Grand Cru Rangen de Thann 2016

Wolfberger Riesling Rangen de Thann is made from 100 percent Riesling. 

 Mineral, spicy, minty with some eucalyptus notes, tropical fruits, grapefruit. Balanced and exotic in the finish, with long lasting flavors.

The Rangen Grand Cru is located in Thann, deep in the south of Alsace. Its particular soil is made of volcano-clastic rocks that drink up the heat of the day and send it back out again at night. The composition of the soil allows the roots of the vines to drink deeply from the mineral-rich sub-soil. Its southern exposure has the advantage of refreshing, drying winds in case of dampness. The high slopes are quite steep, reaching 68% in some places, requiring that the harvest be done by abseiling or roping down. Perfect for aging, these wines will reveal even more qualities after several years in the cellar.

Pair with Serve with fish, seafood, sushi, sashimi, goat cheese, vegetarian food.

 


 

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Chateau Hallet Sauternes 2018 (half-bottle)

Hallet Sauternes is made from 100% Sémillon.
With delicate aromas of honey, citrus, crystallized fruit and acacia, it makes a good match not only for desserts, but also for foie gras, roasted meats and blue cheeses.

It makes a delicious aperitif when served chilled.