Friday Feature – December 18, 2009


Each year I look high and low for what I feel is the best value sparkling wine around.

Whether you make wine in Champagne, some other region of France, Spain, Germany or even Tasmania, sparkling wine production is an elaborate process.

The best sparkling wine is made in what is called the “traditional method” or “Champagne method.”  With its secondary fermentation in the bottle, aging on its lees, riddling (the slow movement of the lees or sediment to the neck of the bottle) and disgorgement, this is a hands-on process that rarely yields values.

Thus, each year it becomes all the more difficult to find a hand-crafted, delicious and complex bottle of bubbles to offer to you as the value of the year.

Once again though, I think I have found something very special!

So, without delay, my sparkling wine value of the year …




Jérôme Sauvète is one of the true rising stars of the Loire Valley. I have featured a variety of his wines  in my store, from his delicious Sauvignon Blanc to a terrific expression of Malbec called “Antea.”

Domaine Sauvète owns 16 hectares of vineyards, and is a certified organic producer. Of these hectares, 7.5 are devoted to production of Sauvignon, Chenin and Chardonnay. Like many of his generation, Jérôme and his wife Dominique are very focused on preserving the natural character of their terroir. Aside for the concern of the health of the plant, Jérôme has looked to reduce his yields through pruning and thinning out the buds. For many years the Loire Valley battled against overproduction and diluted wines, but here is a producer that is clearly trying to change that image.

One brilliant example of this quality is the Sauvète’s delicious and complex Blanc de Blancs Brut. It is a blend of Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay, hand-harvested from the La Bocagerie plateau that looks over their village of Monthou-sur-Cher. The soil is composed of sand over argile-calcareous soil.

The juice is pressed carefully to extract the purest parts of the grape juice. It is fermented in stainless steel tank using natural yeast. After the difficult task of blending, the juice undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle. It has been aged for 36 months on its lees to add complexity and richness. For a sparkling wine of this value, that is almost an unheard-of length of time for the wine to sit on its lees.

Very pretty aromatics combining notes of fresh peach with cherry, biscuit and fine herbs. Coats the palate with creamy citrus and big time mineral notes.  This remains fresh and pure on the refreshing finish.

Whether you are entertaining the masses during the holidays at your home or office, or just need to keep a bottle of bubbles in your refrigerator at all times, you are not going to want to miss this. It is a tremendous value!

Craig Perman
Perman Wine Selections
802 W. Washington Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607
Phone 312-666-4417
Fax 312-666-4487

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