Reserve Pinot Noir Brut
California: Napa Valley
What we say
Welcome to Bottle Shock Movie Week on The Wine Spies. Through next week we are celebrating the release of Bottle Shock, a fun film about a pivotal moment in California wine history, the 1976 Judgment of Paris, in which California wines beat French wines in a blind tasting – in France!
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT!:
Agent Sparkle is very picky about the sparkling wines we feature here. Today’s passes her test, and then some!.
SECRET SAVINGS ALERT!:
Clever Operatives who buy 6 or more bottles today, will be rewarded with Free Ground Shipping – but only if they enter coupon code: BRUTSPY
Mission Codename: Vintage ’76
Operative: Agent Sparkle, Wine Spies resident Sparkling wine expert
Objective: Close our Bottle Shock Movie Week on The Wine Spies with, what else, a bottle of fantastic sparkling wine! Locate a fantastic bottle, from a winery related to the film. Secure an ample supply for our celebration-loving Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Domaine Chandon
Wine Subject: Reserve Pinot Noir Brut
Winemaker: Tom Tiburzi
Backgrounder: In 1976, California wine made history by beating the best that the French had to offer. The event was the now famous, Judgment of Paris. Auspiciously, 1976 was also the year Domaine Chandon released its first sparkling wine. Here’s what the New York Times had to say about the blind tasting event:
The New York Times, Wednesday June 9, 1976 : “Several California wines triumphed over some of the best Burgundy has to offer in a blind tasting in Paris recently. More startling: The judges were French.”
Today, The Wine Spies celebrate California’s victory by bringing you a superb bottle of Sparkling wine from Domaine Chandon, a Napa Valley winery with a rich history and a reputation for producing the finest California Bubbly available. Read Agent Sparkle’s tasting notes and mission report below.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – A beautiful golden hay color with large and small energetic bubbles. Using a non-etched champagne flute (which can influence the course that bubbles take through the wine), the large bubbles shoot upward from the middle, while the small bubbles glide up the periphery
Smell – Reminds me of a fresh spring waterfall cascading down a moss-covered rock wall. Also smells of fresh baked apple pie with subtle cinnamon. Aged strong white cheddar and a weensy hint of salami.
Feel – This bubble starts light at the front of the mouth with a distinct tip-o-tongue frenzy of bubbles. When I hold the wine in my mouth I get the sensation that I have liquid bubble-wrap in my mouth – that I can pop between my tongue and the roof of my mouth. Overall, the wine is medium-bodied, fresh, crisp and wet. The tannins are in check here, giving the wine a wet feel rather than an overly dry one.
Taste – Delicious bright citrus and Bartlett pear are followed by softest cherry. Also present here are the subtle combined flavors of a cracker with aged cheddar and candied pear, ending with soft flavors of apple pie and whipped cream. I don’t mean to give the impression that this bubbly is overly sweet. Rather, it finds a true balance between sweet and tart.
Finish – Initially wet, with flavors that ramp up quickly and then taper off slowly moving from sweet to gently tart, creamy and somewhat earthy
Conclusion – This is a perfect sparkling wine for fine dining, entertaining and even less formal events like a picnic or an outdoor concert. I enjoyed this wine on an overcast afternoon with salami, hard cheeses and Carr’s crackers. Overall, this is a refreshing, crisp and clean wine that also has its share of fullness and body. True to my name, I am very particular about my sparkling wines. This one passes the test and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do!
As Agent Red reported yesterday, this month has been a crazy one.
The movie premier that we attended was great fun, and I got to have my first celebrity experience. It was, well, interesting, although I can’t say that I’d ever want to be a celeb. Its seems like a very strange life, with your every move observed and directed. Boring!
Bill Pullman was really nice. So was Freddy Rodriguez. If you thought that Agent Red was short, you should see Freddy. Cute guy, to be sure, but not nearly the hunk that is our very own Agent Red. Overall, the event was really fun but I was not particularly dazzled by the stars. The winery did a great job and the setting was beautiful. The atmosphere was festive.
After the premier was over and I was able to tear Agent Red away from his fans, we retired to our nearby hotel. There, we sat on the veranda, under the stars. We were happy that the week was behind us and were looking forward to enjoying the rest of the weekend before being sent off on a new mission.
The quiet stillness of the warm Napa night was broken by the unmistakable POP of a champagne cork. Or, as it turned out, a sparkling wine cork.
We turned toward the source of the pop, and saw the grinning face of one of the films stars. [CENSORED] brought the bottle over and produced two glasses from a picnic basket that he was carrying. Pouring the bubbly, he smiled, thanked us for the work that we were doing with the wineries in the film, and then walked away.
The bottle was an exquisite Reserve Brut of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, from Domaine Chandon. We sipped and sniffed and swished and enjoyed the wine. I loved it, and when I got back to Central Command, I made it a point to secure some for our Operatives.
Today we celebrate the close of a very exciting and very special seven days here on The Wine Spies. Our Bottle Shock week was a ton of fun and you responded by taking advantage of the great Bottle Shock wines that we made available to you.
Today’s exceptional sparkling wine is the perfect celebration wine. In fact, I declare that this bubbly is my new personal favorite!
Our quantity is somewhat limited, so please take advantage early. Remember to stock up for special events. Jeez, before even you know it, the Holiday’s will be upon us..
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the beautiful Domaine Chandon winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
Domaine Chandon, Member, Napa Valley Vintners
Awards & Accolades:
93 points and Editor’s Choice – Wine Enthusiast, December 1, 2007 – “A rich and complex wine created in a robust style that offers weight and dimension to the palate.”
About This Sparkling Wine:
A complex sparkling wine created in a robust style that offers weight and dimension to the palate. With extended time on the yeast, this wine has a creamy texture, combining aromas of toasted hazelnuts with notes of black cherry, baked apple and ginger.
Winemaker Tom Tiburzi favors this wine with rich or strongly flavored foods such as smoked salmon or tuna tartare. It also pairs beautifully with the earthy flavors in wild mushroom dishes, with roasted chicken, or classic roast pork tenderloin.
Our Reserve Varietal Wines introduce a new way to present traditional sparkling wines. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the two main varietals that comprise Champagne method sparkling wines. Reserve Pinot Noir Brut focuses on one of these core varietals, resulting in a distinct style that expresses the unique qualities Pinot Noir contributes to sparkling wine blends – namely structure, body, and rich nuances of red fruit. Pinot Noir has always been the primary component of our Reserve Brut.
Chandon Reserve Pinot Noir Brut is created using fruit specifically selected for the Reserve style. It is aged for a minimum of three years on the lees (yeast) which lends complexity and a creamy texture. Rich and robust, this sparkling is an ideal match for food.
About Domaine Chandon:
At Chandon, we blend the best of French tradition with new world innovations.
Our Napa Valley estate is firmly grounded in the traditional French sparkling winemaking practices established centuries ago by our French Champagne house founders. But we also employ the latest sustainable farming practices and let our vineyards’ exceptional regional character lead the way in creating distinctive, handcrafted sparkling and still wines. This blend of history and ingenuity is what makes Chandon wines truly sparkle.
History: Chandon’s pioneer heritage dates back to the actual invention of champagne. In 1690 a French monk by the name of Dom Pérignon stumbled upon a wine with a magical sparkling effervescence while acting as cellar master of a Benedictine abbey in Hautvillers. Recognizing something important about this felicitous accident, he set out to unlock the secret to its process and ultimately developed the traditional champagne method, or méthode traditionelle.
In 1743 Moët & Chandon was founded by Claude Moët in Champagne, France. The company soon acquired the Benedictine Abbey and its legacies and named one of their champagnes-now world-renowned Dom Pérignon-after the monk who started it all.
Fast forward 200-plus years. Count Robert Jean deVogué, chairman of the board of the parent company of Moët-Hennessy, set his sights on California expansion, and in 1973 Moët-Hennessy bought land in Northern California, planted vineyards and designed Domaine Chandon, an architectural and ecological winery that blends into its surroundings and reflects Chandon’s legacy of excellence. Our first sparkling wine was released in 1976. In1977 our visitor center opened its doors, marking the first French-owned sparkling wine venture in the United States.
But our founding was just one of many firsts for the new winery known as Domaine Chandon. We were also the first California sparkling wine producer to be established by a French house using only the traditional method, the first to introduce smaller containers to preserve delicate grapes during harvest, the first California winery to use Pinot Meunier in its sparkling wines, and, in 1977, the first to bring four-star dining to Napa Valley.
Nearly three decades later we continue to chart new paths while embracing the past. We are leaders in sustainable farming and continue to look for ways to grow the finest fruit while preserving our environment for future generations. We parlayed our experience with the classic sparkling wine varietals of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay into an exciting varietal wine collection. We are also constantly seeking new ways to heighten our reputation as the most complete winemaking and hospitality experience in Napa Valley.
Winemaking: From the vineyards to the glass we marry the best of French tradition with new world innovations to ensure the highest quality in the bottle. Our winemaking team showcases the rich fruit flavors of California’s regional character by using centuries-old champagne methods and traditional grape varieties. The special art of skillfully assembling as many as 60 unique base wines from 25 vineyard sites allows us to create each sparkling wine cuvée. Regardless of the style, at their core Chandon sparkling wines reflect California’s regional character yet remain true to the practices of méthode traditionnelle.
About The Winemaker:
Tom Tiburzi Winemaker, Sparkling Wine – San Diego native Tom Tiburzi has been on the winemaking team since 1989, but his passion for food and wine began long before that. It was in his blood. The son of an Italian immigrant who achieved the American dream by opening and cooking in a hotel and restaurant and building a retail wine and spirits business, Tom worked in his family’s stores from early childhood. As a youth he made wine in the garage with his family and learned the benefits of fresh seasonal ingredients through his mother, who regularly sent him out to pluck herbs and vegetables from the backyard garden. After receiving a degree in Environmental Studies in Biology from the University of California at Berkeley, he fell in love with his now-wife Sherri. When she accepted a pastry chef position at Domaine Chandon she inadvertently led Tom to his dream job. Today along with overseeing our sparkling wine production he regularly consults with our restaurant chefs on how to heighten and expand guests’ wine and food experiences at Chandon and at home.
Appellation: 53% Napa Valley, 47% Sonoma Counties
Composition: 76% Pinot Noir, 22% Chardonnay, 2% Pinot Meunier
Aging Profile: Minimum of 3 years on the lees (yeast)