Jean Vesselle Brut Rose Demi-Sec, Cuvee Friandise
Rosé Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France
A bountiful, seductive semi-dry Champagne that exhibits a sweet nose of cherry pie and jasmine. Delightfully fruity and full, with sweet, lacy layers of red fruits and candied ginger on the palate. This "delicacy cuvée" is in every way pleasing, and certainly fitting for exuberant celebrations
International Wine Cellar - "Light red with a frothy mousse. Cranberry, redcurrant and wild strawberry on the nose, with cherry skin and dark chocolate adding complexity. This smells like a Kir Royale mixed by Dali, or maybe Magritte. The expression of red fruits is remarkable for its depth and purity. Creamy red berry and cherry preserve flavors are firmed by gentle acidity and pick up an exotic floral quality on the back end. Finishes with excellent clarity and great persistence. I'd serve this as I would a light, exuberant red Burgundy."
Jean Vesselle Winery
Delphine Vesselle is a perfect example of what the next generation of winemakers in Champagne (or France, for that matter) is capable. Trained both in France as well as in South Africa and Australia, Delphine is steeped in both modern techniques and family tradition. The ancient family estate (more than 300 years old) is located in the Côte de Noirs town of Bouzy, most famous for its powerful Pinot Noir wines. Her wines have a classic Bouzy signature, but also show impressive finesse and grace.
After the death of her father, Jean Vesselle, in 1996, Delphine has preserved his memory by continuing the family tradition of making outstanding Champagne. She told us that she "tries hard every day to honor his confidence by working towards quality and respect for the wine, with passion and dedication."
The family wines hail from two vineyards which they own. Their vine holdings are 90% Pinot Noir (much of which grows on mineral-rich Kimmeridgian soil) and 10% Chardonnay.
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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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