Friday Feature – Sparkling Wine Value of the Year

Hello and Happy Friday!

I’m gearing up for the holidays here at Perman Wine Selections, and to help you plan your holiday wine shopping, I wanted to give you the upcoming holiday store hours.

Thursday, November 22 (Thanksgiving Day) CLOSED

Friday, November 23 OPEN, 12pm – 7pm

Monday, December 24 (Christmas Eve) OPEN, 11am – 5pm

Tuesday, December 25 (Christmas Day) CLOSED

Monday, December 31 (New Year’s Eve) OPEN, 11am – 5pm

Tuesday, January 1 (New Year’s Day) CLOSED

Wednesday, January 2 OPEN, Regular Store Hours

I’m very excited to introduce to you this week’s Friday Feature— my annual announcement for my Sparkling Wine Value of the Year!

Each year, I select a different sparkling wine that is so outstanding and so delicious that it MUST be part of your holiday drinking plans!

This year’s featured sparkling wine comes from Italy and one of my favorite producers in Friuli, I Clivi.

Don’t miss this!

Have a great weekend and Go Ducks!





I Clivi “RBL” Spumante Brut Nature
If you love wine, and specifically Italian wine – it is time that you discover or re-discover the wines of Friuli.  This region that lies in Northeast Italy, alongside the Slovenian border, is historically important yet currently neglected in the American wine market.

Some of the world’s best white wines come from Friuli, made from grapes like Tocai, Ribolla Gialla, Verduzzo and Malvasia.  Beautiful, world-class reds are produced from international grapes like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and local grapes such as Refosco, Schippettino, and Pignolo.

One name you should start with in your discovery of Friuli is that of I Clivi. Owned an operated by the Zanusso family, Ferdinando and Mario are making absolutely exceptional wines from their winery in the heart of the Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC.

The winery was started in the early ‘90s when Ferdinando was able to purchase some old, neglected vineyards in two outstanding sites at Corno di Rosazzin in Colli Orientali and in Brazzano di Cormons in the Collio DOC.  The vineyards were lovingly restored, and today are the base for some exceptional red and white wines.

The special qualities of I Clivi can be summed up in three bullet points.

  • Amazing vineyards, most with vines that are 40 to 60 years-old and beyond.
  • They aim to produce “as ‘transparent’ a wine as possible.”  All the wines tell a story of the grape and the place they come from.
  • Dedication to the highest quality of wine, at extremely affordable prices.  One of the main reasons the wines of Friuli aren’t as widely known here is there “higher” price points.  Stores and restaurants in the US often find it “easier” to sell bulk wines from areas like Alto Adige.  Compare I Clivi to a top producer of Puligny-Montrachet, perhaps Domaine Leflaive, and now I think you will have a sense of the value of these wines.

With the incredible quality of the wines of I Clivi, you could understand how I was intrigued when I read that they also produced a sparkling wine made from the grape Ribolla Gialla.  Production of the wine is very small at only around 5,000 bottles.

I was able to access a bottle to try, and was truly impressed with this both unique and absolutely delicious sparkling wine.  So much so that I’ve special ordered some from the Zanusso family, and offer it to you as my Sparkling Wine Value of the year!

I Clivi “RBL” is produced through a very special process that I think is best explained by Ferdinando Zanusso himself.

“RBL, well, that’s a quite different beast compared to the bubbles you are accustomed to, both those made by re-fermenting the wine in bottle – i.e. following the traditional Methode Champenoise, named Metodo Classico here – and those made by re-fermenting the wine in a pressurized vessel – i.e. using the so-called Charmat technique.

In fact, for both the Champenoise and the Charmat methods, the starting point is the same, i.e. a FINISHED WINE, which is subsequently made to re-ferment by inoculating a mixture of yeasts and sugar that will start the secondary fermentation in order to produce the carbon dioxide (CO2) which makes up the bubbles.  The only difference between the two techniques under this aspect is that with the Methode Champenoise, the secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle, whereas with the Charmat method, it takes place in a pressurized vat, the bubbled wine being bottled after the secondary fermentation.

Our starting point is different: it is a MUST –  and NOT a finished wine. The bubbles are made by retaining in the fermenting must the CO2 produced in  the final stages of its fermentation.  So there is NO SECONDARY FERMENTATION – there is no need for it – and therefore NO INOCULATION OF YEASTS AND SUGAR, which also ultimately means NO INCREASE OF ALCOHOL, usually at least by one degree.

In other words, we press our Ribolla grapes and place the resulting must in an open vat where it ferments as usual, releasing the CO2 into the air. Towards the end of the fermentation, when the residual sugar is just what it takes to produce the bubbles, the vat is closed so that the CO2 released by the fermentation of the remaining sugar is retained in the resulting wine to form the bubbles. The wine is then left in the same vat to mature on its lees and subsequently bottled under pressure.

The sparkling wine made in this manner is more “natural” – so to speak – than those made according to both Champenois and Charmat method as there is no artificially-induced secondary fermentation. Also, its aroma and fruit are fresher and more forthcoming.

Our RBL is Brut Nature, unfermented sugar does not exceed 2 grams per liter, and there is no addition of sugar or liqueur d’expedition as already explained. Of course there is no disgorgement, which only occurs in the Champenoise where secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle, and consequently no refilling.”

There you have it!  Detailed enough?

What about the taste?  Pure and delineated, like any of the Zanusso wines, gorgeous aromatics of pear, peach, tea leaf and mineral notes.  Very soft and fine perlage, with bright citrus notes, a repetition of mineral notes and a long, dry finish.

This offers it all! Complex – check! Thirst quenching – check! Great value – check!

So what are you waiting for?  Grab one of the 5,000 bottles that the Zanusso family made this year – you will love it!
$23.99 BTL. / $287.88 CASE – ONLY 180 BOTTLES AVAILABLE


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