Novellum Chardonnay 2010
Chardonnay from Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Novellum is a custom cuvee of 100% Chardonnay grown and made by Jean Marc and Eliane Lafage for Eric Solomon. Year after year, the Novellum Chardonnay is lauded for being one of the best Chardonnay values. Because the wine is un-oaked, it is a terrific Chardonnay which marries quite well with food.
The Wine Advocate - "Lafage's 19,000-case production 2010 Novellum Chardonnay - one third barrel-fermented, and grown on cobbled and alluvial soils near the Mediterranean east of Perpignan - has, he relates, become a best-seller in Japan, Germany, and Canada as well as in the U.S. Nearly over-ripe apple and musk melon on the nose and a generously juicy, succulently sappy, lees-enriched, creamy yet somehow at the same time tart-edged palate are tinged with brown spices and hazelnut. The combination here of creaminess with refreshment and levity illustrates a virtue more usually associated with Pinot Blanc. This will prove delightfully versatile over the next 12-18 months."
For many years Eric Solomon Selections worked with a cooperative in the Languedoc to make Novellum from a special site that in most years had some botrytis, giving the wine weight without resorting to oak. Since that time they’ve moved the project to the Roussillon where Jean-Marc and Eliane Lafage have some Chardonnay planted near the Mediterranean that makes a remarkably complex and mineral version of the variety. There is no botrytis here so as a result, they resort to aging a small percentage in barrel – usually less than 30%. The remainder of the wine is aged in tank on the lees of Viognier. View all Novellum Wines
About Languedoc-Roussillon(LAHN-guh-dock) (ROO-see-yohn) France. The region stretches along the land above the Mediterranean, bordered by the Rhone river on the east and almost reaching Spain on the west. Only 10% of the wines from the area are AC, with the remaining wines often landing in the Vin de Pays or Vin de Table category. Wines in the Vin de Pays category are classified here as Vin de Pays d'Oc.
Notable Facts80% of the wines here are red. The grapes of the neighboring Rhone region are popular, with the focus on Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsaut and to a lesser extent, Carignan. White grapes include Rousanne, Marsanne, Clairette and other white Rhone varieties. Parts of the region are also enjoying success with international varieties like Merlot, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. For many of these international style wines, you'll see the grape variety on the label – very un-French, but since they qualify as Vin de Pays d'Oc, it's allowed. Not so for the AC wines of the region, which are relegated to using most of the regional varieties and labeling their bottles by region. Appellations in the Languedoc include Corbières, Minervois, Costières de Nimes, Banyuls and the largest of them all, Coteaux de Languedoc. Corbières and Minervois are found on the western side of the region and produce sometimes very concentrated red wines. Costières de Nimes lies just southwest of the Rhone and produces wines of comparable character. Banyuls creates decadent fortified wines with Grenache and Coteaux de Langeudoc does triple duty, using international and regional grapes to produce white, red and rose wines that are often fantastic values.
RoussillonA region located between the Spanish border and Languedoc, Roussillon is often mentioned in conjunction with Languedoc, but is an entirely separate, albeit smaller, area. Producing white, red and rose wines, Roussillon is in the Catalonia region, which bleeds into Spain and France. The area has equal amount of Spanish influence as it does French. It is most well-known for Banyuls, a potent dessert wine made from concentrated old-vine Grenache. Vines are old and planted on steep, rocky, terraced hillsides overlooking the coast. The region is also making still wines, mostly from Grenache but with a good amount of Carignan as well.
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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