This stuff is just great fun….it doesn’t matter who I pour a glass for, they just love it….it’s just delicious drinking……vital, insanely perfumed and heady….kind of like carbonated fresh grape must, though that’s probably doing it a bit of a disservice.
It’s not exactly from the Savoie, but from the neighbouring department of Ain. Bugey was classified as a VDQS….Vin délimité de qualité supérieure….the second highest level of French wine, but from May 2009, Bugey won the right to AOC classification. It’s an obscure little region, 170 hectares in all, midway between Geneva & Lyon….it’s mountainous with vineyards tucked away, South-facing between green pastures and contented cud-chewing cows.
It is a blend of Gamay (90%) & Poulsard (10%)….a demi-sec (half-dry) sparkling rose that might be hard to come by, but is certainly worth hunting down. The Cerdon Methode Ancestrale is the star of the region….the ancestral method rolls like this.
The grapes are harvested by hand, pressed and fermented in vats at a cool temperature until the alcohol reaches around 6 degrees. A light filtration leaves most of the active yeast in the unfinished wine. The wine is then bottled and the secondary fermentation continues in bottle, finally reaching its final alcohol of around 7 – 8% and retaining a fair wack of its original sugar.
Lack of dosage or yeast prior to the second fermentation leads to a wine that is über-grapey and vinous….it’s a fairly fragile beastie, requiring good shipping and storage but I know for a fact that the importer over delivers in this aspect so the main issues will be at the hands of retailers, restaurants, etc.
Bright salmon-pink in the glass with a fairly course mousse but you’re not here to ponce around and pontificate over it….you are here to drink it and have some fun.
Head-spinning grapey and fresh must aromas with intense redcurrant, strawberry and raspberry fruits with some red apple thrown in for good measure. Bursting with personality with hints of flowers, spice, a touch of stalky goodness and just a dab of Poulsard funk.
In the mouth it is energetic and lively…..off-dry yet pure and refreshing with vivid grapey goodness, redcurrant and raspberry fruits, spice and almost an apple brandy or calvados-like note on the back palate. For the amount of sugar in the wine it finishes clean and zippy with a wicked mid-palate creaminess and the bottle never seems to last long enough.
If I owned a 1971 Plymouth GTX van…..I think I’d have a fridge full of Renardat-Fache Bugey Cerdon between the seats….it’s the only way to travel….and possibly a mattress in the back.