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Brut Tradition: A great sparkling wine, styled like a Champagne,
But not a Champagne
By Simone Zarmati Diament
When Jean-Louis Denois, a sixth generation Champenois, decided to stray from his long established Champagne family in 1981, he exchanged his Paradise for another one next door. He established his own headquarters, Charles de Fère, not far from his family cellar in a property located in Fère-en Tardenois, in northern Burgundy, twenty miles outside of the Champagne region.
But he still wanted to produce bubblies. His ideal was to bottle an exceptional sparkling wine, competing with those of Champagne, but not recognized as one since its grapes grew outside the Champagne region. So why not make the best of it? He started using grapes from various vineyards: Chenin Blanc from Saumur; Ugni Blanc from Cognac; Chardonnay from Limoux… and vinified them according to the traditional méthode champenoise.
The secret of sparkling wines is the blend, which will determine the House style. The style of Charles de Fère is to select cuvées from northerly vineyards for their freshness and elegance, together with cuvées from southern vineyards for ripe fruit, body and smoothness.
As a result, Charles de Fère's bold approach adds finesse, structure, and a complex harmony of flavors to premium quality, bottle-fermented sparkling wines.
This pale gold colored sparkling wine is made from 100% Chardonnay. It has been used traditionally not only in all the great white wines from this region, but also in all the best sparkling wines from both the Burgundy and Champagne regions. Two and a half years of fermentation contribute to making this an elegant wine with delicate bubbles and the distinctive Chardonnay aromas of toasted bread-crusts. It is crispy on the palate, yet well-rounded with generous rich flavors of ripe apple, spice and butter. It is velvety with a touch of flintstone, a refreshing acidity and a dry finish. It is great as an apéritif. Serve at 43º to 46ºF.
At $13 retail price in South Florida stores, it's quite a bargain