The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2018

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50  /  the tasting panel  /  june 2018 SPARKLING Breaking Out the Bubbly CLOS DU BOIS MAKES WAVES WITH A LITTLE SPARKLE by Ruth Tobias A fter nearly 45 years as one of the top-selling wine brands in the U.S., Clos du Bois has as much cause to celebrate now as ever. What better way to do so than by toasting to its success with a bottle of bubbly—or two? Just in time for patio, porch, and picnic season, the winery aims to make a splash with its first-ever foray into fizz. The new releases, Lightly Bubbled Chardonnay and Rosé, are "truly in a league of their own right now," says Senior Winemaker Sue D'Agostini, insofar as they're not officially classified as sparkling wine. Rather, she explains, "the motivation from both a creative and business perspective was to craft a fun, modern version" of the category, infusing it with a gentle effervescence that's more in line with the trendy pétillant style: "giving wine drinkers everything they love about a still wine with a little pop." Stainless–steel fermented from California grapes to 39 grams of residual sugar per liter, both wines technically fall within demi-sec territory, but they have the "bright acid" to ensure they're in keeping with the Clos du Bois philosophy of "balanced, approachable wines that are varietally correct," says D'Agostini. In the case of the Chardonnay, expressions of ripe pear and apple mingle with more tropical hints of pineapple and papaya, while the Lightly Bubbled Rosé—a Zinfandel-based blend— bursts with ripe watermelon and strawberry amid sparks of tart cranberry. The extra touch of sweetness in what D'Agostini calls those "succulent, fruit-forward flavors" lends itself to just the sort of pairings a host might have in mind when arrang- ing a leisurely al fresco brunch or "a summer soirée with friends." She recommends both wines as complements to breezy hors d'oeuvres like watermelon salad with feta, grilled shrimp, and blinis topped with goat cheese or tomato jam and crème fraiche. The list of possibilities extends to highly flavorful fare as well, from Vietnamese spring rolls with sweet-chili sauce to Greek chicken salad and potato-pea samosas. And, of course, desserts work too: "The citrusy flavors in the Chardonnay go well with lemon cheesecake," D'Agostini notes, whereas "the Rosé pairs nicely with a strawberry dessert such as strawberry shortcake." Ultimately, she says, "the idea here is to deliver wines that are easy to enjoy for a host of occasions"—spontaneous as well as planned—while expanding the Clos du Bois portfolio to include "a new category that consumers love." Apparently a little fizz can generate a lot of buzz. End a sunny brunch on a sweet note with Clos du Bois Lightly Bubbled Rosé and berry tarts. Clos du Bois Senior Winemaker Sue D'Agostini says the company's new releases aim to give wine drinkers "everything they love about a still wine with a little pop." PHOTOS COURTESY OF CLOS DU BOIS

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