I anticipated enjoying Sparkling Wine Week. Who doesn’t like bubbles? I was ready for the education sessions, for the interviews, but I was not prepared for the variety of sparkling wines that would be presented.
Yes, there were Champagnes, Proseccos and Cavas. But I had not expected sparkling red wines, sparkling wines from Nebbiolo, Barbera or Grignolino, or traditional method sparkling wines from Argentina.
Allow me to share with you some of the unique wines I discovered.
Hic et Nunc from Piemonte, Italy
Hic et Nunc, Latin for “here and now” is in Vignale Monferrato in Italy’s Piemonte. These hills are home to Barbera and Grignolino. The Rosolen family bought 100 hectares of this land in 2012 with 20 hectares dedicated to vines. In 2016 they released their first wine, from the indigenous grapes on this property. Some of their Barbera vines are over 80 years old. They presented 2 wines both made in the Charmant method.
Màrsia is a Brut Rosé made of 100% Barbera. It sees 9 months fermentation and has fruity full aromas. The color is pink with a bit of orange.
Mète is 100% Grignolino. This wine is lighter with more bronze tone. It carries more floral notes with berries and citrus.
While both wines are sparkling rosé, Stephano Gervasoni, from Hic et Nunc tells us that the wines each have a different nature. The Mète is good with light cheese, chicken, or vegetables, whereas the Màrsia has a stronger personality with berry and spice notes making it suitable with dinner.
They have a stunning website with beautiful video of their hilltop vineyard.
Wessman One from Maison Wessman, Champagne France
Robert Wessman is the owner of a large pharmaceutical company. A few years ago, he purchased Château Saint-Cernin near Bergerac. He wanted his own Champagne Brand, so he brought in experts to create an unusual champagne, one of strong character.
This wine is a rosé, but more than the style that you typically think of with Champagne. Myriam Carrere explained that the pinot noir is vinified like a red wine. It is destemmed and has a long maceration followed by malolactic fermentation to avoid bitter notes. To this, they blend Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs to create their base wine. It ferments in the bottle on lees for at least 15 months.
This is a high-end luxury brand currently served on private jets and in some high-end restaurants. It was described: “refined bubbles, with a softness from the Pinot Noir. Surprising aromas of red fruits, rose, with citrus and orange peed on the finish, keeping it balanced.” They produce just 6000 bottles of Champagne with Pinot Noir from Aÿ and Chardonnay from the Côte de Blancs (a 55/45 blend). This wine sits at 6 to 9 g/L of residual sugar (so at a Brut level).
Jasmine Monet Organic Sparkling wine in Mendoza, Argentina
Yes, you read that right, Mendoza, Argentina. The vineyards sit at 1200 meters in the foothills of the Andes. They have 44 hectares of French varieties with some vines up to 50 years old. The vineyards are in the Valle de Uco near Tupungato. The wines they produce are certified organic.
The wines are traditional method and the two that Fernando Cardinali and Julien Mendoza presented were classic Chardonnay, Pinot Noir blends. These wines do have a bit of Argentinian flare. The altitude, soil and microclimates give a unique personality to the wine. If that doesn’t set them apart enough, their name packaging will.
Julien Mendoza is one of the vineyard owners. His wife, a fashion designer, does the marketing. They produce 200,000 bottles per year, across their 3 varieties.
Their Organic Brut is 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Noir. Decked in Black and Gold with a bit of reptile skin texture on the label. This wine has notes of green apple, citrus and coconut.
The Rosé is 65% chardonnay and 35% Pinot Noir. This bottle is dressed out in pink w/leopard print. This wine is sweeter, sitting in the Demi-Sec range. They note white peaches, red fruits, and almonds on the nose.
They have full scale gift sets complete with flutes, ice buckets and sparkling wine all coordinated with their theme. Quality of wine aside, this packaging has a certain demographic dialed in.
460 Casina Bric – Piemonte, Italy
Casina Bric is Piedmontese for “Hilltop Farm. 460 Casina Bric is the most elevated property in the village of Barolo at 460 meters. After working for 20 years in the family vineyards, vigneron Gianluca Viberti created this independent project.
They have 2 vineyards, one facing Barolo and one facing the Alba Region, between Barolo & Barbaresco in the Langhe Valley. This is the Nebbiolo d’Alba Spumante DOC created in 1970.
Gianluca presented 2 100% Nebbiolo Rosé sparkling wines made in two styles and methods.
Nebbiolo Origo Ginis Cuvee 970 is the more accessible of the two wines. 970 is for 1970, the year the Nebbiolo d’Alba Spumante DOC was created. This is made in the Methodo Martinotti. Martinotti himself was from Piemonte. It spends 8-18 months on lees and is a non-vintage sparkling wine.
Origo Ginis Mellesimator Brut Nature 2014 is bottled by vintage in magnums. This wine is made in the traditional method spending 24-36 months in bottle on the lees. This wine is kept in cellar 1-year post disgorgement. They note floral aromas on this wine of wild rose and peach flowers. This is their higher-end wine, meant for special occasions.
La Pamelita – Vino Espumoso de Calidad, Spain
Sparkling red wine and a winemaker with a story. Pamela Geddes is a Scottish Microbiologist who shifted from hospital work to whiskey to wine. She went to Penfolds to study wine and took over for their microbiologist. After some time making sparkling Shiraz in Victoria’s Great Western. She spent time in Chile and created a sparkling Monastrell. While in Chile, they called her La Pamelita. The name stuck and when she returned to Spain to make a red sparkling wine, it became the name of her label.
She is the smallest legal sparkling wine producer in Spain with an annual production of 6000 bottles. Located outside Sant Sadurni, she sources Syrah and Garnacha for her sparkling red wines, which cannot be listed as Cava, as Cava cannot be red.
She shared with us 2 wines, both fall under the labeling DO Vino Espumoso de Calidad.
The La Pamelita is 95% Syrah and 5% Garnacha. It is. This wine she describes as elegant, chocolatey, and spicy.
The La Rosita is a sparkling rosé of 100% Garnacha. She describes it as “Summer Fresh, with a creamy mousse and wild strawberries”.
Sparkling Wine Week 2020 in the Books!
This was just a sampling of the most unique sparkling wines showcased. I was sad that there we no British Sparkling wines represented. There were other wonderful wines as well of course, as the 50 Great Sparkling Wines 2020 and the 50 Great Cavas 2020 were presented.
If you are interested, the recordings are still available. I’ll include the link with the other resources below.
If you are an importer and are interested in contacting these wineries, I suggest contacting Anthony with Wine Pleasures. He can put you in touch with them.
Take me to the vines: Wine tourism 2020 and beyond
Coming up soon on July Thursday July 9th the IWINETC (The International Wine and Tourism Conference) will hold the “Take me to the vines: Wine tourism 2020 and beyond” seminar. This will include 2 one hour sessions. The first will discuss the safety precautions being put in place for the upcoming IWINETC conference scheduled in November in Italy and the second “What’s next for wine and culinary tourism”. Here is the link to their site if you are interested in details and signing up.
Sources & Resources
- Wine Pleasures
- Sparkling Wine Week Replays
- Hic et Nunc
- Wessman One
- Jasmine Monet
- 460 Casina Bric
- La Pamelita does not have a website, sadly.
And be sure to check out the 50 Great Sparkling Wines as well as the 50 Great Cavas of 2020. (links in the photos below!)
Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.