My wife and I got married on my birthday, which we celebrated earlier this week. As I wrote about for Utah Bites, we enjoyed an excellent meal at Park City’s Twisted Fern restaurant. As part of the celebration, we brought a special bottle of bubbly with us: Domaine Chandon étoile Tête de Cuvée 2008. Now, while I highly recommend this wonderful sparkling wine, it is a special (and pricey) treat at around $80.
However, Napa-based Domaine Chandon produces a wide range of sparkling wines and some are quite affordable. I am a big fan, for example, of Domaine Chandon Blanc de Noirs, which sells here for a very reasonable $20.99.
Chandon has been making Blanc de Noirs style bubbly since 1974, and they’ve got it down cold. The wine makes use of two red grape varieties: Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, plus Chardonnay. It is a non-vintage wine (made with wines from multiple vintages) that has characteristic Blanc de Noirs flavors and aromas of strawberry, cherry and currant. The texture is elegant and creamy.
Here is how the folks at Chandon describe the vinification process: “Grapes were gently pressed, fermented into wine, blended and bottled along with yeast and sugar to start the second fermentation that makes méthode traditionnelle wines effervescent. After aging, the wine is clarified by riddling, which moves the yeast sediment to the neck of the bottle. The necks are frozen, and the yeast is expelled in a process called disgorgement. To balance the acidity before applying the cork, each bottle is topped off with a small amount of liqueur, sugar dissolved in reserve wine, also known as the dosage. The wine is then aged at least six additional months before release.”
One of the things I love about Domaine Chandon Blanc de Noirs is that it is so versatile and food-friendly. I’ve sipped this wine with everything from sushi and sashimi to grilled chicken, seafood dishes, and Mexican fare. It would be a terrific addition to any picnic or outdoor barbecue, but it also excellent simply to sip out on the patio on a warm day.
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.