Import Selection: Chamdeville Blanc De Blanc Brut, NV

This is that bubbly time of year when men and women’s fancies, young and old, turn to thoughts of Champagne. Whoops! Watch the use of that word.

Chamdeville is produced in France (in Bordeaux, actually) but outside the strictly de-limited re­gion legally entitled the name “Champagne.” It must therefore go by the less recognizable handle “Vin Mousseux” (“foaming wine”). There are other differences other than the geographical source. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay which are predominate in Champagne, is Chenin Blanc and Ugni Blanc in Chamdeville Brut. The former is grown in the Loire Valley and con­tributes the fresh bouquet and frui­ty highlights, while the latter comes from an area called Cha­rente, the home of Cognac, and provides acidity and structure to round this wine. Further distinc­tion comes in the method of pro­duction. Where as the all-in-the-bottle “methode champenoise” method of fermentation (invented by the famous blind monk Dom Perignon) is mandatory in the Champagne region, Chamdeville’s producers are able to employ the Cuvee Close” process which yields similar results at a fraction of the cost. Roger Maury (wine-maker) and Kim Hartman (master blender) use the theory that if the second bubble-inducing fermenta­tion works well in the bottle, it could also work well in a larger pressurized vessel. Still wine is pumped into stainless steel pres­sure tanks. Yeast and sugar are in­troduced to start the second fer­mentation; source of the desired petulance. When this completes, the wine is settled, transferred off its sediment, and moved into a holding tank prior to bottling. All these processes take place under pressure to ensure the bubbles re­main trapped in the wine. This method is capable of producing good, clean sparkling wine with tiny pinpoint bubbles.

Chamdeville is a fine example of what is capable of the “Cuvee Close” method. It has a clear pale greenish yellow color with plenty of “mousse”(foam) when you pour it and enticingly small bubbles. A fresh, fruity yet chalky nose pre­cedes the creamy, clean fruity but dry taste. It is smooth, balanced and light to medium in body. It finishes pleasantly dry.

Serve iced with party hor’s d’oeuvres or our favorite fluffy omelette. Great for Mimosas!

Cellaring Notes: Enjoy now and through summer 1991.

Reviewed by Larry Tepper

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