Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Jean-Claude Raspail Clairette de Die Tradition

Jean-Claude Raspail Clairette de Die Tradition
Die, Rhone Valley, France

Naturally sparkling wines are all the rage these days, but this isn't a new idea. The folks around the town of Die in the Rhone Valley have been making naturally sparkling wines for, well, ever. The technique is even called the Methode Dioise Ancestrale: a slow fermentation begins in cool temperature vats for one to two months, and then the wine is transferred to the bottle for another four months to complete the fermentation. The finished product is a naturally sweet sparkling wine!

This is quite different than Methode Traditionelle sparkling wines like Champagne, Cava, and Franciacorta. These wines are fermented to dryness, then bottled with yeast and sugar and fermented again in the bottle, and then disgorged (the spent yeast is removed from the bottle). Methode Ancestrale wines only undergo one fermentation (part in a vat, part in the bottle) and then are not disgorged. The Jean-Claude Raspail is "Agriculture Biologique" -- fancy French for organically grown. Doesn't get more natural than that!

Review: This Clairette de Die is fluffy and fragrant. It's a golden yellow color with a small bead and frothy texture. Aromas of honeysuckle, green apple, white peach are positively intoxicating. The wine is medium sweet (more than off dry, but not fully sweet) with bright acid. This, along with the mousse, creates a beautiful mouth-coating texture. Flavors of dried golden apple and honeysuckle dominate the palate. The finish drops off relatively quickly, leaving me with a sweet freshness.

The blending of Clairette (25%) provides the Muscat (75%) with a much needed zesty acid. The resulting balance is of delicate flavors and soft texture is quite lovely.

Pairing: The perfect aperitif.

Bottom Line: Light and sweet, easy and fun! 


Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: Non-Vintage
  • PLACE: Clairette de Die AOC (Appellation d'origine contrôlée)
  • GRAPES: 75% Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, 25% Clairette Blanches
  • BOOZE: 7.5% 
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2018
  • www.raspail.com

Where did I get it? Astor Wines and Spirits
What's the damage? Mid Priced

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