Patrick Bottex Bugey Cerdon Rose La Cueille
Enologically speaking, this is a blend of Poulsard and Gamay from the Cerdon cru of the Bugey, a pocket of hilly natural beauty situated roughly between Savoie, the Jura, and the city of Lyon. In accordance with the so-called “ancestral method,” the wine has been bottled partway through fermentation, refermented in bottle until reaching the desired sweetness and bubbliness, then racked off its lees and recorked to avoid further fermentation (and exploding glass).
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Today, Cerdon is considered one of three crus within the appellation of Bugey, and the only one whose entire production consists of sparkling wine. In La Cueille, one of seven high-altitude hamlets surrounding the historic medieval town of Ponsin, Patrick and Catherine Bottex are farming the limestone slopes above the Ain River. They have been working five hectares of land since 1991 and produce only a small quantity of their beautiful, intriguing sparkling wine. As a former part of the Duchy of Burgundy, it stands to reason that several Burgundian grape varietals have found a home here—not the least of which is Gamay. The Bottex’s blend consists of ninety percent Gamay and ten percent of the native Poulsard. They bottle this low-alcohol wine using the méthode ancestrale, a rare technique that experts believe predates the méthode champenoise. The wine first goes through a primary fermentation in cuve, but is then bottled before all of the residual sugar has converted to alcohol. After going through a secondary fermentation in the bottle for at least two months, the wine is ready—Champagne’s dosage is not permitted! The resulting wine is delightfully refreshing with bright fruit, a beautiful rosé hue, and a touch of sweetness.
Appreciated worldwide as an iconic token of celebration and luxury, sparkling wines from France come in more forms than just Champagne. In order to bear the label, ‘Champagne’, a sparkling wine must originate from the northeastern region of France—called Champagne—and adhere to strict quality standards. Champagne’s chalky, limestone and soils and cold, continental climate create grapes with ample acidity and concentration. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier are permitted for use in Champagne.
French sparkling wines made outside of Champagne take the name Crémant. Crémant de Bourgogne, Alsace, Loire and Limoux are the best known. These are made using the same technique as that of Champagne, called méthode traditionelle, but typically are composed of the regional grape variety. Usually dry to off-dry with bright acidity, these are often characterized by qualities of lemon, peach, marzipan and white flowers.