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Wolfberger Cremant d' Alsace Brut

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 Wine Enthusiast: 90
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:

"Clean, poised, rounded notes of ripe, red-cheeked apples play on every front. There is something joyous and bountiful here. The frothy mousse accentuates the light-hearted but generous aspect on the dry but rounded palate, which also brings ample refreshment.- Anne Krebiehl, MW"

Wine Enthusiast (Dec 1st 2015), 90 pts

"This bargain bubbly bursts with bright red-fruit flavors and scintillating acidity. It punches well above its price, with nice depth and complexity. ABV: 12 percent. - Dave McIntyre"

- Washington Post ("Bottled poetry, plus 4 other wines to ring in 2016", December 26th 2015), ** 1/2



 

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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J Fritsch Alsace Grand Cru Schlossberg Riesling 2015

Composition: This semi-sweet white wine is made from 100% Riesling.

The soil is granitic and has southern exposure.

Tasting Notes: This wine has a pale yellow color with intense notes of citrus fruit dominated by lime and balanced by an incredible freshness. After a light aeration, the minerality takes over. On the palate, there is more citrus fruit flavor and minerality. With bottle age, the wine will acquire a typical mineral nose reminiscent of gunflint.

Pairing: This Riesling will be perfect with fish, or with the traditional “Choucroute” (sauerkraut and sausages).

Chateau Gaudrelle Vouvray Sparkling Methode Traditionnelle NV

Produced from 100% Chenin Blanc planted on clay and flint stones based soils.
Vinification: aged in stainless steel tanks with temperature controlled fermentation. Aged on the lees for 4 months. 
Kieselguhr filtration.
This sparking wine is fresh and fruity. Rich and easy to drink, which makes it a wonderful aperitif. For the aficionados this is an excellent food friendly wine. Its quality makes it a great alternative to Champagne.

"The two sparkling wines should not be missed. They’re both terrific examples of how good sparkling Vouvray can be. Both are 100% Chenin Blanc cuvees, with the non-vintage Chateau Gaudrelle Vouvray Brut showing lots of effervescence and plenty of flowery brioche, buttered citrus, melon and dried apricot notes. It is crisp, fresh, and ideal for drinking over the next several years."
-Wine Advocate 90 pts


"Just off-dry, this almond- and apple-flavored wine achieves a fine balance of crispness and richness. There is just a touch of honey, intertwined with delicious citrusy acidity."
- Wine Enthusiast , 90 pts

 Wine Advocate: 90 Wine Enthusiast: 90
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
Charles Duret Cremant de Bourgogne NV

Charles Duret Cremant de Bourgogne NV is made from 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay

The appellation Crémant de Bourgogne Contrôlée was created by a decree on the 17th October, 1975. The very important base wine for Crémant comes from pre-selected vines within the Burgundy region. There is a very strict hand sorting of the grapes before they are de-stemmed and pressed before vinification.  The second fermentation takes place in the bottle. Made in the traditional method of bottle fermentation over a minimum of 9 months before de-gorging, dosage de départ  and the final cork being inserted.
The grape varietals are 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay. Delicate, long-lasting bubbles are proof of this traditional, bottle fermented, quality sparkling white burgundy wine.  Fresh, fruity flavors with a hint of hazelnuts on the finish.
This Crémant is delicious served as an apéritif or with food, in particular with dishes which have creamy wine sauces. 
It is the perfect wine for receptions.

"The non-vintage Charles Duret Crémant de Bourgogne is composed of 70 percent pinot noir and 30 percent chardonnay grapes. Made in the venerable champagne method — or méthode traditionelle — this delicate, taut and paradoxically creamy sparkling wine offers uplifting aromas of biscuits and hazelnuts and enticing meadowy scents. It’s fashioned in a light, tight, satisfyingly effervescent manner, with a sense of lovely well-knit tone and presence. Flavors of toast and lime zest lead to a slightly spicy, limestone-etched finish. Very Good+ and Great Value at about $20."

 

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:

"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

"Medium gold color with very attractive aromas of yeast and lemon tart. A lovely and very flavorful palate of yeast and nuts gives way to a long, long finish. This is a crowd pleaser!"
- I-Wine Review 91 pts

"Graphite, bread dough and citrus aromas segue to lemon, apple and floral notes as this remains focused and crisp. There's a nice chalky feel on the long finish.   1,800 cases made. –BS"
- Wine Spectator  90 pts

"A finely wrought wine, this is tangy and mineral drivel, layering acidity, citrus and white fruit in a complex, elegant whole"- Wine Enthusiast  90 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: 90 Wine Enthusiast: 90 Wine Spectator: 92 International Wine Review: 92 93 Points
Corredera Amontillado NV

Wine produced from grapes coming from the best vineyards from Sierra de Montilla and Moriles Alto (top quality area)

Aged in American Oak for 8 years

Color: Amber color with some topaz reflections. 
An intense and elegant expression from the oxidative ageing process, with some dry fruits characters. The aromas are reminiscent of  its ancestor - Fino. Velvety, warm, round and well-structured on the palate with almond flavors. A well-balanced wine.

Wonderful as an aperitif and to accompany soups and consommés. Extremely good where its distinctive taste adds unique character to a wide range of dishes. Try also with marinated meats and selfish as aperitif.



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Marcassin Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2013

Marcassin Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay. 


The 2013 Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard may be even better. Notes of caramelized citrus, hazelnut, apple blossom, lemon oil and orange marmalade are all present in this wine of dazzling aromatic and flavor dimension. It is full-bodied, again shows some wet pebbles (which I equate with minerality), vibrant acidity, and no real evidence of any oak. Much like the 2012, the finish goes on for 45+ seconds. This is another killer Chardonnay from Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer. -Wine Advocate 100 Points

What an extraordinary tasting this was at the Marcassin winery just north of Santa Rosa in Sonoma County. Just when you think the duo of Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer can’t make greater wines, they bowl over the taster with an array of exquisite quality that really must be tasted to be believed. Marcassin was probably California’s greatest Chardonnay after the famous Chalone winery fell from the pinnacle and onto hard times in the 1980s (and it has yet to rebound). Moreover, Marcassin set the bar for great Pinot Noir as well. And while both their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir have many competitors these days (from the likes of Harford Court, Mark Aubert, Kistler, Kongsgaard, DuMol, Thomas Brown, Peter Michael, Martinelli and Luc Morlet, to name a few), John Wetlaufer and Helen Turley remain the reigning geniuses of these two varietals in California. Certainly, their meticulous attention to detail in both the vineyard and in the winemaking and élevage account for the quality, but they were among the pioneers who saw the unlimited potential from the Sonoma Coast, now a relatively crowded neighborhood. This was a remarkable tasting that simply blew me away, and I have been following their wines since the first Marcassins were made in the early 1990s. By the way, any doubts about aging potential should be crushed immediately, as even in the most challenging vintages in California, Marcassin Chardonnays and Pinots have aged as well as, if not better than just about any grand cru white Burgundy. For example, 1995 and 1996 Chardonnays, particularly those from the Lorenzo Vineyard, are incredibly youthful and dynamic, and the Marcassin Estate Pinot Noir, even from vintages such as 1998, is simply amazing. The three Chardonnays tasted include two perfect wines. Perhaps the closest comparison is not to anything made in California, but a Corton-Charlemagne in a top vintage from the famous Jean François Coche-Dury.



 Wine Advocate: 100