Brut de Noir. 1979. Codorniu

by Paul Kalemkiarian Sr | December 1982

Travel south from Barcelona, Spain, for 30 miles and you will arrive at San Sadurni de Noya, and the home of Codorniu. They claim to be the worlds largest single producer of sparkling wine by the “methode champenoise”. (The latter is the traditional method of the French Champagne region. It is copied the world over; and I must hasten to say, rarely successfully. .. Interesting variations…Yes. True rival to fine French Champagne…No.) They are the oldest (1551) and largest casa in the central Penedes region. They own 16 miles of underground cellars, on five levels, ageing 100 million bottles of wine. Jose Maria Raventos and Manuel Raventos, descendants of the Raventos family who married into the Codorniu family, currently own and manage the firm.

Codorniu makes several grades ands styles of sparkling wines all by the classical method. After exhaustive comparisons of the Codorniu and other imported sparkling wines within our budget, I felt the Codorniu Brut de Noir was the best for the money. …And in fact, a bargain for the characteristics it demonstrated.

The grapes used in Codorniu sparkling wines are local ones. Three white grapes, Macabeo, Xarello, and Perellada, and the red grape Morastell. Brut de Noir is made 100% from the latter. The primary fermenta­tion is done in American oak barrels. The wine is blended, bottled with the yeast for the secondary fermentation, and aged. When ready, the yeast cells are disgorged, the bottle is corked and wired.

Our sparkling wine is orange pink in color, with small bubbles. (the fineness of the bubbles in sparkling wines is claimed to be indicative of the method of secondary fermentation. Coarse bubbles from the bulk method, fine bubbles from the “fermented in this bottle” method, and medium bubbles from the “fermented in the bottle ” method). The aroma is nutty and yeasty like all good champagne should be. There is a dryness to the nose. The taste is medium to full bodied, with a dominant nutty flavor of the yeast. There is a prominent grape flavor, with some tannin bitterness that adds to the dryness sensation. Shows some complexity of the base wine due to its age. Serve with appetizers and canapes – a festive sparkling wine.

Cellaring Notes: Drink now. However, if you enjoyed the complexity dimension, it will develop further for 2 to 3 years.

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