Iets anders dan Champagne

Iets anders dan Champagne


edwardsDe meerdere malen gelauwerde Champagneschrijver Michael Edwards laat zijn licht schijnen over enkele andere mousserende wijnen en gaat 44 jaar terug in de tijd naar de Elzas:
I’ve been drinking quite a few sparkling wines outside Champagne. On a trip to the Veneto earlier this month, I was reunited with an old friend – Franco Adami’s single vineyard Prosecco DOCG Vigneto Giardino Rive di Colbertado 2011. This is the oldest property in Franco’s domain, 300 metres high above Valdobbiadene, the wine a very traditional off-dry expression of classic Prosecco with a flick of sweetness, 21 g/l residual sugar.



Great as a luxurious aperitif and splendid with spicy Asian cooking esp. Cantonese crab with ginger or scallops & black bean sauce. But such is the perfect balance of the wine that it finishes with what the Italians call ‘Asciutto’ – impossible to translate but meaning clean and crisp. Of course, you never quite get from Prosecco, which is all about fruit,  the complexities of fine lees-aging that you find in better champagnes and the small band of top cavas like Gramona and Raventos I Blanc. Yet a delightful champagne-like alternative I liked last.


weekend was Domaine Schoenheitz’s Cremant d’ Alsace 2007, just disgorged on the night for the Great Alsace Wines’ dinner at the Michelin-starred La Nouvelle Auberge, Wihr au Val. With nearly five years  age on lees, the Schoenheitz had myriad flavours of mature Pinot Auxerrois, substantial yet refined, and a silken mouthfeel  akin to the real thing from the Marne. It certainly raised the spirits of us three hacks, very different people who happened to get along well. The cremant instilled a sense of well being and tolerance towards a party of po-faced Norse wine fanciers at the disapproving next table. What is it about Norwegians, normally so amiable, when they get a tasting glass in their hands that they become so solemn and dour that they might as well be in chapel? All those long hours of dark winter nights, I suppose.


The dinner was memorabe and illustrated chef patron Lebay’s Breton lightness of touch: especially in fresh and smoked whitefish from Lac Leman  with crayfish vinaigrette & roasted almonds; the dish  went beautifully with the aromatic and joyfully flowing 2010 Riesling Sainte Catherine of Dom. Weinbach. Or superb duck and plum pie paired with Zind-Humbrecht’s magisterial 2000 Pinot Gris Rangen Clos St Urbain, a ne plus ultra from volcanic soil. It was good to see Leonard Humbrecht again, a great man and piece of Alsace history. He was as warm and gracious  last friday as he had been forty four years when I arrived as a harvest stagier in a Mini with a broken windscreen. 1968 was not a great year, I can tell you that!


Michael Edwards



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