We're going old school on Thursdays, shining light on the forgotten corners of our cellar and studying a bit of history. Sometimes we'll find stars, sometimes duds, but it'll always be an adventure.
Did you know that Montinore used to make sparkling wine? For those first few vintages of production, we tried a few different experiments to find our niche. Deep within the cellar, we dug up this gem: a 1988 Blanc de Noir Sparkling Wine.
Blanc de Noir literally translates as "White of Black," i.e. a white wine made from grapes that are traditionally used to make red wine. With very gentle handling and minimal-to-nonexistent skin contact, the juice won't absorb any color from the skins, thereby allowing you to make white wine (over 99% of all grapes used for wine production have clear juice; extended skin contact gives wine its color). "Méthode Champenoise" means that this sparkling wine was produced by the same technique used in Champagne: a bit of sweet wine and yeast is added to the bottle before sealing, allowing the wine to re-ferment in the bottle. The carbon dioxide produced by fermentation is trapped and creates the characteristic bubbles when the bottle opens.
How does sparkling wine hold up after 26 years? In this particular instance, as admirably as could be expected. The slightest effervescence remained, providing a light tingle on the tongue. The overriding aroma and flavor notes included honey, apple, and citrus. Past its prime, yes, but a nice gateway into history.
Even though it's been a very long time since we've made any sparkling wine, the "blanc de noir" spirit lives on in our 2011 White Pinot Noir, a wine made by the same method, albeit still rather than sparkling. Head out to the tasting room for a sample of this unique, limited-production wine, and grab a bottle before the vintage is gone.