Stony and mineral-driven, with bready, biscuity aromas. The creamy mousse is like sea foam – beautiful tiny bubbles. The autolytic notes continue on the palate, with lemon-lime and green apple flavours. Classic traditional method bubbly that would make the perfect partner to takeout Chinese food, a celebration with that special person in your life or served well chilled on the patio.
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are commonly blended together to produce sparkling wines around the world. The best cuvées are typically made in the traditional méthode champenoise. Wines made in this style can be crisp and fresh-tasting in some examples, steely and mineral-driven in others, or have characteristics of bread, toast and butter. Some of the best wines will have elements of each of these and be rich, integrated and ageworthy. Grapes used in sparkling wines are picked earlier than those used in still wines to maximize acidity. The style is therefore suited to cool-climate viticulture. Chardonnay provides the palate weight and aromatics, Pinot Noir gives the elegance. Pinot Meunier contributes structure and mouthfeel.
The Finger Lakes region of New York State is an exciting, emerging area for cool climate wines of freshness and elegance. Despite its relative anonymity, it is a region that has been around for some time. Less than a 5 hour drive from both Toronto and New York City, this bucolic area is now home to over 160 wineries. Grapes here range from the obscure (Rkatsiteli) to the familiar (Riesling) and plenty in between. Regardless of the variety, the wines all exhibit Old World freshness, bright flavours and elegant structures that are perfect accompaniments to a wide variety of foods and festivities. The sparklers from New York are garnering critical acclaim and offer a glimpse of what this cool-climate region can offer.
The Keuka Lake Estate Vineyards are planted in mineral-rich slate. The protective bubble of Keuka Lake moderates temperatures, particularly in the cool evenings. Starting close to sea level, the vines are densely planted (for added stress) on a gentle climbing slope.
Hand-harvested grapes were whole-cluster pressed, with care taken to ensure the grapes stayed cool and unclean fermentation odours didn’t develop. The still wines were then bottled from steel tanks, a pinch of sugar was added and secondary fermentation under crown cap was allowed to take place. After a couple of years on its lees, with regular riddling, the wine was disgorged, a touch of dosage added, then further bottle aging to harmonize all the flavours before release.