Following on the heels of yesterday's vin de soif, today's post is about a wine served as a proper aperitif at a recent food, wine and relaxation oriented get together. It proved a very fine accompaniment to a quite tasty if rather peculiar cheese, flavored by
smoked chestnuts walnuts, that my friends had brought back from a recent trip to Sonoma; let's just say the cheese was very, well, chestnutty walnutty. I can't seem to recall or find the name and/or provenance of said cheese so, if anyone out there knows it, please do hit the comments with any pertinent info.
Crémant du jura Brut "Indigène," André et Mireille Tissot (Stéphane Tissot) NV
$22. 12.5% alcohol. Cork. Importer: A Thomas Calder Selection, Potomac Selections, Landover, MD.
Stéphane Tissot produces two different Crémants du Jura: one made in the conventional méthode traditionelle and a second cuvée called "Indigène." The truly bloggerly approach to this tasting would have been to pour the two cuvées side-by-side in order to compare and contrast the differences. That will have to wait for another day, I suppose, for funds not being limitless on the shopping excursion during which I procured this bottle — not that funds are ever anywhere close to unlimited! — I headed straight for the more geeked-out "Indigène."
What's the difference? As with most sparkling wines made in the Champagne method, Tissot's regular Brut cuvée achieves its effervescence through the addition of measured quantities of selected yeast and sugar to an already finished still wine. Seal the bottle and nature takes its course, sparking a second fermentation. With "Indigène," Tissot utilizes yeast that has been cultivated from the leftovers from the production of his own vin de paille (or "straw wine," made from grapes dried on straw mats). Given that the vin de paille is fermented, like all of Tissot's wines (other than round two for the normal Brut), on its native yeasts, "Indigène" is wholly fermented on yeasts that are indigenous both to Tissot's vines and to his own production methods. Very self-sufficient, no?
The end results yield a very pretty wine, one that could easily slip into the ringer position in a blind Champagne tasting. Leading off with a forward, pillowy nose of pastry, whipped cream and lavender, the wine reveals a very sweet-fruited profile on the palate, full of baked apple and peach skin nuance, fresh hazelnuts and brioche. The wine's richness made me wonder about dosage levels. A little research, however, revealed that the wine is in fact produced with zero dosage (and zero added sulfur dioxide) but is finished with a small amount of unresolved residual sugar. So we're simply talking about good, ripe raw materials.
Cautionary word of mouth suggests that the regular cuvée is not quite so compelling but, as suggested above, we'll have to wait for another occasion to put that theory/opinion to the test.
PS: For readers in the greater Los Angeles area, Lou Amdur was pouring "Indigène" at his eponymous wine bar and restaurant, Lou on Vine, last week. You might want to give Lou a shout before hightailing it over there, just to make sure there's some left.