December 2018 –Sparkling Rose for your Holiday
2016 Mont Marcal Vinicola Cava Brut Rosado $15/btl or $180/case
The winery Mont Marçal Vinícola was founded in 1975 by Manuel Sancho who, after many years of dedication to the world of music, directed his activity towards a new art; the world of wine and cava. Since 2015, under new ownership, the philosophy of the winery and the dedication to producing quality wines under the Denominations of Origén Penedès, Catalunya, and Cava continue. The winery, originally a 14th century farmhouse in the heart of Penedès, and then a 19th century convent, is now a state-of-the-art winemaking facility. They have the desire to stay anchored to the past, but are always keeping their eyes open to a constantly changing future to provide a small touch of regeneration and modernity. Their aim is to produce wines that appeal to the tastes of different customer segments.
The farm has 40 hectares of its own vineyards comprised of native varietals, like Macabeo, Xarel-Lo, and Tempranillo, as well as perfectly adapted varieties such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah. Excavation on the property expanded the Cava aging and bottling capacity, at the same time revealing medieval underground passageways in the chalk which have been carefully preserved for additional bottle storage. The estate has 100 hectares of vineyards and the "Mont" provides 360-degree exposure, creating a wide variety of micro-climates for maturation of the various varieties.
The Mont Marcal Vinicola Cava Brut Rosado is a blend of 34% Garnacha, 33% Trepat, and 33% Pinot Noir. Trepat is a red grape variety that is grown primarily in Catalonia, and is usually only used as a blending grape is rosé wines.
Harvesting and vinification of the three varieties happens separately. The harvested grapes go directly to press and cold fermentation with minimum possible extraction of the skin, so there is only around three hours of contact with the must and the skins. After that, the three wines are blended together and undergo a second fermentation in bottle.
In the glass, it is a delicate blush color with violet tones, and shows fine bubbles and mousse. It has a subtle nose of strawberries, peach skin, and watermelon rind. In the mouth, it is dominated by berry notes, such as cherries and blackberries, with a base of plum and fig compote and slight evolution of the lees. The fruit is luscious with gracefully textured bubbles on the dry finish.
This is an ideal cava to drink as an aperitif and with a great variety of dishes, from croquettes, soft creamy cheeses, light white fish dishes, pasta, salads of red berries, carpaccios, to dishes made with cured sausages, white meats (veal, rabbit, milk-fed lamb), poultry (quail, chicken), strong spiced and smoked food and a great variety of cakes.
Domaine Michel Sarrazin et Fils Cremant de Bourgogne Rosé $26 btl /$281 case
Savvy wine drinkers who aren’t on a Champagne-every-day budget are wise to be well-versed in Crémant, the traditional-method sparkling wine authorized in only seven French wine growing regions. Crémant is governed by slightly relaxed versions of the vinification and élevage standards that guard Champagne’s quality, and represents the cream of France’s non-Champagne sparklers. Crémant de Bourgogne comes from the Burgundy region.
The finest wines from the Côte Chalonnaise are known for their effortless beauty, with delicate aromas, fruit-driven flavors and silky textures. Burgundy from Domaine Michel Sarrazin et Fils both exemplifies this elegant style and sets an even higher standard for the region—each cru is unquestionably the finest in its class, yet still offers exceptional value. Visiting the family’s ancient estate in Jamblès, a hamlet of some 50 residents, is a bit like going back in time. The family’s winemaking roots run deep here, as there’s been a Sarrazin growing grapes and making wine in this peaceful valley as far back as the seventeenth century. In the mid-90’s brothers Guy and Jean-Yves were handed the family winemaking torch from their father, Michel. Not satisfied to sit around and do things just like their dad, the brothers reach out to other young winemakers (like Frederic Magnien in Morey-Saint-Denis and Vincent Dureuil in Rully), and tasted as much as they could. The family’s holdings include a number of vineyards across regional appellations such as Givry, Maranges and Mercurey, and are cared for sustainably, avoiding the use of herbicides and pesticides.
The Pinot Noir for this Cremant de Bourgogne rosé comes from estate-owned, older-vine vineyards that are located on some of the higher-altitude slopes around Givry. Harvest is usually by hand, and they still eschew the use of pesticides or herbicides in the vineyard. Fermentation occurs on indigenous yeasts in temperature-controlled, stainless steel tanks. Secondary fermentation occurs in bottle, just like Champagne. It is aged for 16 months in bottle, which not only exceeds the requirements of Crémant, but also exceeds the full year required in Champagne. Dosage is only 3 grams per liter, which means this is a very dry wine; Brut Champagne has up to 12 grams per liter.
Domaine Michel Sarrazin et Fils Cremant de Bourgogne Rosé has aromas of blood orange, light white pepper, summer berries. Tangy, with good body; flavors of wild strawberries, blood orange, light toasty brioche. Pair with French ham or other charcuterie; soft-rind cheeses; or serve alone as an aperitif.
Cover photo via @montmarcal