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What Makes Vintage Sparkling Wine So Special

If you know sparkling wine, you know much of the artistry lies in the blend. Typically, when crafting bubbly, you’re constantly mixing from different blocks, vineyards and vintages, which allows you to produce a consistent wine, year after year. However, certain years are unique. With some vintages, on some plots of land, the wine fates are kind, enabling a sparkling winemaker to capture a remarkable harvest as a worthy vintage.

Ellen Flora - Senior Wine Ambassador

If you know sparkling wine, you know much of the artistry lies in the blend. Typically, when crafting bubbly, you’re constantly mixing from different blocks, vineyards and vintages, which allows you to produce a consistent wine, year after year. However, certain years are unique. With some vintages, on some plots of land, the wine fates are kind, enabling a sparkling winemaker to capture a remarkable harvest as a worthy vintage.

In 2007, Domaine Chandon’s Carneros property was just such a harvest. Our 2007 Carneros Vintage Brut—carefully aged more than four years, and now ready to be enjoyed—has been released, just in time for Valentine’s Day. We recently sat down with Senior Wine Ambassador Ellen Flora to discuss this balanced, elegant wine, as well as what makes our vintage releases so unique.

This one is just right.

In recent years, when the quality of our grapes is truly extraordinary, Chandon has created vintage bruts highlighting the unique characteristics of our estate vineyard appellations, specifically Yountville, Mt. Veeder and Carneros. Each region has something unique to offer. Yountville is relatively warm, with minimal fog, leading to broad, rich wines. Mt. Veeder, at a higher elevation, tends to create lean, tight, structured wines. Finally, Carneros, an often foggy property along the coast, produces wines balanced somewhere between the two.
Carneros

“For us, Carneros is definitely a very special place to grow sparkling wine,” says Flora. “Its wines have this beautiful balance of great acidity and flavor development, and tend to display citrus notes, but also a rich texture.”

The growing season in 2007 was somewhat unique, in that it started quite dry, resulting in an early bud break, and continued to be dry throughout the spring. It was also an unusually mild, even cool, summer. The grapes in Carneros subsequently developed a high acidity, with remarkable flavor.

“People sometimes make food pairings too complicated.”

2007 Carneros Vintage Brut

According to Ellen, the 2007 Carneros Vintage Brut starts off with aromas of toffee, raspberry and lemon zest. Savor a sip, and you’ll likely notice a continuing citrus quality, tipping into richer notes of Fuji apple. As she describes the wine’s long, languid finish, it’s hard not to close your eyes and imagine the custard-rich, yet still acidic, conclusion.

While the wine’s structure and flavor profile may be complex, though, don’t overthink things when it comes time to pair it with a dish. “People sometimes make food pairings too complicated,” Flora laments. “With wines [like this one] that have high acidity and lemon zest notes, then anything you’d like a lemon with will work—oysters, crab cakes, sashimi, halibut. Even steak tartare, or as a refreshing counterbalance to roasted vegetables.”

Good now, better later?

As previously mentioned, the 2007 Carneros Vintage Brut has been meticulously aged for more than four years, and is an exceptional wine that’s ready to be enjoyed now. Ellen, however, suggests a tiered approach.

“I always recommend buying a few bottles, if not a case, and tasting them in intervals. You’ll see this wine develop a bit more in the coming months. I’d perhaps try one for Valentine’s Day, another at Easter, and then again at the beginning of the summer.”

Regardless of how and when you choose to enjoy this unique offering, be sure to get your bottle now. As a rare, vintage sparkling wine, supplies are limited, and are not expected to last long.