Photo (courtesy Blue Mountain): festive bubbles
In the fall of 2010, Blue Mountain
Vineyard & Cellars celebrated its 20th
vintage by hosting an
extensive tasting of its reserve wines.
The wines in the tasting included a 1994 Reserve Brut R.D.,
which means recently disgorged. If my files are correct, the winery released
its next R.D. sparkling wine from the vintage of 2004. That wine would have
been released about three years ago.
Happily, the winery has begin to release is classy R.D.
wines a little more often now.
has produced an excellent sparkling wine every year since the winery was
founded in 1991. For many of those years, the production volume was too limited
(or sold too quickly) to allow the winery to hold back a portion each vintage
for extended aging on the lees.
In recent years, the winery has been able to do that. The
result is a series of sparkling wines that stand side by side with Champagne.
Gold Label Brut, the winery’s bread and butter sparkling wine, spends two years
on the lees before being disgorged, bottled and released. Wines made in this
style are typically crisp and fresh. At $24 a bottle, this wine represents
outstanding value for its quality.
The R.D wines necessarily are more expensive, reflecting the
additional years these wines are aged. The reward for tying up capital for
another five years to eight years is the enhanced complexity that the wines
develop from extended lees contact.
These are not wines to be squandered with the party trick
that, alas, has become popular: opening bottles with a sabre. That is quite
dramatic; not much wine sprays over the floor when the sobering is successful.
Of course, it is a mess if the neck does not break off cleanly.
But these wines are so good that you will want to savour
every drop rather than sabre every drop.
Currently, the winery has three R.D. releases available.
Blue Mountain Brut Rosé 2011 R.D.
($33). The base
for this wine is 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay. After secondary
fermentation in the bottle, the wine aged three years on the lees before being
disgorged. The dosage is 10 grams of residual sugar per litre – just enough to
add flesh to the texture while retaining a crisply dry finish. With its pink
hue and fine bubbles, the wine gives a fine display in the glass. The aroma is
fruity. Creamy on the palate, the delicious wine delivers flavours of
strawberry and brioche that coat the palate and linger on the finish. 92.
Blanc de Blancs 2008 R.D.
($40). Made with Chardonnay grapes, this wine,
after its secondary fermentation, remained seven years on the lees, to be
disgorged in March 2015. It is finished in the brut style, with almost no sugar
in the dosage. In the glass, the wine has a fine and vigorous mousse. It has
nutty toasty aromas and flavours, with hints of lemon and green apple and a
crisp finish. The elegance of this wine is quite striking. 92.
Blue Mountain Reserve Brut 2007
R.D. ($40). This is 50% Pinot Noir,
50% Chardonnay. This wine has had approximately eight years on the lees before
being disgorged. In the glass, the mousse is fine and active. The wine has
aromas of citrus and toast, going on to delicate fruit and brioche on the
palate. The finish is almost austerely crisp, but not so as to take away from its
classy elegance. 92.