Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Red Sparkling Wines

According to the Drinks Business Piedmontese producers are looking to explore a new trend for Rosé Moscato after sales of Moscato grew over 400% in the US market alone last year: Ricardo March, US & Canada sales director for Beni di Batasiolo, a 150 year old winery based in Serralunga d’Alba has said that they see the next new trend as Moscato Rosé Spumante.

I wonder if Moscato will take off over here in the UK (Gallo released a still Moscato wine here earlier in March). It's also got me thinking about sparkling wine – and whether we will see a renaissance in red sparkling wine? The heydays of Lambrusco in the 1980s are long gone but Italy aside there is a market for Sparkling Shiraz in Australia. Sparkling red wine has been made in Australia since the 1860s and although Shiraz is mainly used there are also Sparkling Merlots and Malbecs.

The Crémant wines from France offer a popular alternative to Champagne and you can sometimes find red sparkling wines being produced in these areas. The Crémant AOCs are Crémant d'Alsace, Crémant de Bordeaux, Crémant de Bourgogne (Burgundy), Crémant de Die (Rhone), Crémant du Jura, Crémant de Limoux and Crémant de Loire (formerly Crémant de Saumur). If you search you will find red sparkling wines under the names of Mousseux (Sparkling) or Pétillant (Semi Sparkling) made by the Méthode Traditionelle and the Méthode Champenoise.

Burgundy produce red sparkling wines under the appellation Bourgogne Mousseux Rouge (which are quite hard to find). Better known producers are Parigot, Vitteaut-Alberti and Domaine Chaumont.

The vineyards of the Loire are probably the best bet for tracking down French red sparkling wines – they are about 2/3rds the size of Bordeaux and the sparkling wine AOCs are Anjou, Saumur, Touraine, Vouvray and Montlouis-Sur-Loire. The Loire is the second largest sparkling wine producer in France after Champagne. In fact you will find that some Crémants are made by Champagne Houses with interests in the Loire - Langlois has been owned by the Champagne house Bollinger since 1973 and Bouvet-Ladubay, is owned by Taittinger. Both produce a sparkling red wine- Carmin, is made by Langlois and Rubis is made by Bouvet-Ladubay. Other producers of sparkling red wine to look out for are Louis de Grenelle, Chateau de Brézé, Domaine de la Guilloterie, and Chateau d'Avrille

I'd be interested to know your thoughts on a possible sparkling red wine trend – especially in the USA!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Intoxicating Wine Inspired Perfume by Kelly & Jones

At the start of this year I wrote about a new range of perfumes that had been inspired by wine from Kelly & Jones in New York City. Their Scent Sommelier Kelly created the Notes of Wine Collection after experiencing the fragrance of her vanilla perfume mingling with Chardonnay at a wine tasting in Napa. Kelly got in touch with me and kindly sent me a sample of her Notes of Chardonnay to try for myself.

I must say that I found the perfume rather intriguing. It has several different layers of aromas that play out as it is warmed by your skin and it lingers and lingers, sending subtle wafts that catch your senses for a good few hours.

Wine and perfume have more in common that you both might think . . . both are intertwined. Both use a process of transformation – from grape to wine and from flower petal to essence, both undergo olfactory research, both rely on the expert and their nose . . . We sniff the wine before we drink it, so that we can get a better understanding of a wine's complex flavours and we sniff the perfume before we wear it to capture its essence before it touches our skin.

At first the smell of Notes of Chardonnay is heady and sweet with a burst of blossom, then it changes to a warm ripe and rich fruity scent which others have described as honey dew melon but to me smelt more like baked quince or fresh figs warmed by the sun. Then it developed into a mellow woody, almost musky, enveloping aroma with very subtle notes of vanilla and beeswax. Perfume evokes memories that are unique to each one of us and Notes of Chardonnay made me think of sunshine beaming down on an old oak table, shined with polish and topped with a bowl of gently fading roses. It was sensuous and deep – sort of timeless.

The story behind the creation of the perfume reminded me to try drinking a wine made from Chardonnay whilst wearing the perfume. Not any Chardonnay will do – I'd suggest a good oak aged one with structure rather than the lighter varieties. I actually found it very pleasant with a Bordeaux White: Chateau Laures which is a blend of 60% Semillon, 30% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Muscadelle which is a deep white wine full of fruit and honey in the mouth.

Kelly & Jones produce 5 wine inspired perfumes and if you are as intrigued as I was then I suggest you try them out!

A crisp, refreshing unisex blend of yuzu grapefruit, starfruit, green apple and a hint of camellia.

Aromas of fresh-picked white peach, anjou pear, bergamot and raspberry leaf.

This swoon-worthy blend has spicy notes of pink peppercorn, ripe black cherry, and tobacco flower on a gorgeous base of vintage leather.
A smooth, balanced essence and beautiful blend of red currant, mission fig, rhubarb and lovely candied violet

A rich, vibrant and seductive blend of sweet honeydew melon, vanilla blossom and luscious crème brulee all rounded out on a base of toasted oak.