T.G.I.F. Champagne and the like – N.V. Chandon Blanc de Noirs

This week’s selection is an old favorite, a “go to” sparkler that I’ve enjoyed over the years – Chandon Blanc de Noir.  Blanc de Noirs (a French term literally meaning “white of blacks”) are sparklers made with black, or red-skinned grapes – in this case Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.

Domaine Chandon was the first French-owned sparkling wine producer in Napa Valley. They were also the first domestic producer to introduce Pinot Meunier into their sparkling wine. The  grapes for this cuveé come primarily from their Carneros property in the Napa Valley.

It’s very common to paint Napa Valley with a broad brush, but the reality is that there are 14 sub-appellations within Napa Valley, each with it’s own micro-climates, soil types, elevations, etc. which make each unique. The Carneros AVA (sub-appellation) lies in both Napa and Sonoma County.  It’s cooler in Carneros than in the other sub-appellations, and grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay thrive there.  Since Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are mainstays in sparklers, there are other sparkling wine producers in the area.  Aside from Domaine Chandon, Domaine Carneros, and Gloria Ferrer also set up shop in Carneros.  Looking to add some sparkle to your wine tasting experience in the Napa area?  Carneros is a great place to start!

NV Chandon Blanc de Noir

NV Chandon Blanc de Noir

Region: USA>California

Variety – Pinot Noir, and  Pinot Meunier

Dosage – Unknown

$13, 13% abv

Production method: Méthode Champenoise;

My tasting notes follow:

Appearance: Golden straw color. with persistent stream of tiny bubbles.

Aromas: Red fruit, and yeast.

Body: Refined mouth feel with a creamy  mousse.  Fruit forward style, approaching off-dry with good balance of fruit and acidity.   

Taste: Raspberry, cherry, and a bit of spice.

Finish: Medium

Pair with: The beauty of sparkling wines is their versatility with food. This one is no exception.  It’s enjoyable as an aperitif, and with food.  We enjoyed it with Chicken, and Pork  Salvadoran Tamales, but since it’s mostly Pinot Noir, it should pair well with virtually any foods you would pair with Pinot, including Roast Chicken, or pork. It should also pair well with Asian cuisine, and Southwestern cuisine.

I’ve noticed that I prefer Pinot-Noir dominant sparklers, rather than Chardonnay based sparklers.  What about you? Have you noticed a preference for sparklers made from a certain blend of grapes?

The list price is $22, but I picked up a bottle at Costco for $12.50, and I’ve frequently found it on sale for substantially less.  I recommend! 87 pts

Everything you wanted to know about Champagne (Rick Bakas)