Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France
The Delamotte Brut is a fine wine that is powerful but not aggressive, with an agreeable freshness, supple roundness on the palate and a clean and fruity finish. Pleasant, well-balanced, with a light golden color, this wine is mature and ready to drink immediately. The bouquet has a hint of citrus, white flowers and lemon peel. The Brut is delicious as an aperitif, and equally delightful with a fruit dessert.
International Wine Cellar - "Bright straw. High-pitched aromas of lime, lemongrass, honeysuckle and gingery spices, with a chalky mineral overtone. Dry and precise, showing very good energy to its citrus fruit and quince flavors. Closes dry, tight and long, with lingering mineral and floral notes and a hint of iodine."
Wine & Spirits - "Clean and fragrant with red fruit, this wine's tart cherry and strawberry flavors integrate with the soil character, which acts as a scrim over the fruit. It feels lush within the tight confines of its structure. Built for food, this will accompany roast game birds."
Wine Spectator - "Smoke and chalk notes underscore delicate flavors of poached pear, lemon curd and salted almond in this firm Champagne, with a subtle finish. Drink now through 2020"
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The House of Delamotte is the fifth-oldest Champagne house in the region, founded in 1760. It is located in the heart of the Côte des Blancs in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. Delamotte is small (just 25,000 cases annually) and one of Champagne's best-kept secrets. It is the sister winery of the legendary House of Salon. The two wineries sit side-by-side and are both run by Didier Depond.
"Delamotte has always been somewhat of an insider's house, producing high quality at realistic prices. One of the best buys in exquisitely crafted Champagne."
- Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate
About ChampagneView a map of Champagne wineries Champagne is both a region and a method. The wines come from the northernmost vineyards in France and the name conjures an image like no other can. An 18th Century Benedictine monk named Dom Perignon is said to be the first to blend both varietals and vintages, making good wines not only great, but also special and unique to their winemaker. Today, nearly 75% of Champagne produced is non-vintage and made up by a blend of several years' harvests.
All Champagnes must be made by a strictly controlled process called "Méthode Champenoise." The grapes are pressed and fermented for the first time. The blending phase follows and the wine is bottled and temporarily capped. Then comes the second fermentation, a blend of sugar and yeast is added and, this time, the carbon dioxide is kept inside the bottle. This process leaves a great deal of sediment that is extracted through a process of "racking" or "riddling." The bottles are progressively turned upside down until all the sediment is collected in the neck. The necks are then frozen and the sediment is "disgorged." After this phase, the winemaker may decide to add sugar to sweeten the wine. Finally the wine is corked. Some wines move through this process in a couple of months, while others are aged after the riddling phase to build greater complexity and depth.
Champagnes range from dry, "Brut," to slightly sweet, "Demi-Sec." Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes are used in Champagne blends, but "Blancs de Noirs" is made entirely of Pinot Noir and "Blancs de Blanc" is made from only Chardonnay grapes. The high acidity achieved by the northern location is crucial to the balance and structure of these wines.
Not every year is a "vintage" declared. In years when it is not, the wines are blended with the produce from other years to create the non-vintage blend, the house style that remains constant from year to year. But in a great vintage year, champagne houses will bottle by itself the unblended year's produce, and use other portions as "reserve" wines to supplement and enrich the non-vintage blend. A vintage champagne can age quite gracefully, and gain complexity just like any other great still wine.
Mild cheeses like gruyere and shellfish pair nicely with Champagne. Also, oysters and Champagne is a popular combination. A full-flavored vintage Champagne can go with almost any meal.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.