lunes, 11 de marzo de 2013

Quartet Anderson Valley Brut, Roederer Estate NV


QUARTET ANDERSON VALLEY BRUT, ROEDERER ESTATE NV

"Quartet Anderson Valley Brut is crisp and elegant with complex pear, spice and hazelnut flavours. It is fresh and lightly fruity with great finesse and depth of flavour. Food & Wine match: Matches well with egg dishes (think brunch), sushi, spicy Asian food, fish and white meats with creamy sauces". farehamwinecellar

"Fragrant fruit ripeness lends this wine penetrating flavors of raspberry essence, tart pear and green apple, a fine mesh of pinot noir and chardonnay. The texture is smooth, the bubbles bringing a touch of yeastiness and almond flavor to balance the freshness of the fruit." 92 Points, Wine and Spirits Magazine (US). "This estate-grown blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir gains added richness from oak-aged reserve wines. The reserves broaden the texture, contributing almond tones to the clean, fresh apple and pear flavors. A festive aperitif, this delivers far beyond its price." Wine & Spirits Joshua Greene - December 2011 Rating: 91 Points

- Wine information: Roederer Estate Quartet builds on over 200 years of winemaking tradition established by Champagne Louis Roederer in France. The Californian sparkling wine produced by Roederer in the Anderson Valley, Quartet, has established a reputation as one of California’s premier sparklers. The estate was established in 1981 by Jean-Claude Rouzaud, who recognised the Anderson Valley as ideal for the production of top quality sparkling wine. The first wines were released in 1988. The Anderson Valley is 200 kilometres north of San Francisco and just a few miles inland from the rugged Mendocino coast thus enjoying a similar cool climate to Champagne. There are four distinct vineyards on the estate - hence the name Quartet - from which all the grapes are sourced. The grapes are the same as used in Champagne – Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The estate covers 230 hectares in total. 100% estate grown, the blend comprises approximatley 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir – the opposite proportions from those used in Roederer’s Brut Premier. Only the cuvée (first pressing of 545 litres/ton) is used, gently pressed from the pulp with minimal skin contact. Fermenting at 18°C in high-grade stainless steel tanks, with no malolactic fermentation, ensures the wines age well and retain the fresh style that is one of the characteristics of Roederer wines, even after a minimum of two years on its lees.

- Price: £21.25

ANDERSON VALLEY

The Anderson Valley is an increasingly prestigious AVA in Mendocino County; the Mendocino AVA lies just a short distance to the east. At the very northern end of California's prime wine-growing area, the Anderson Valley's key town, Boonville, lies 100 miles (160km) north-west of downtown San Francisco and 70 miles (115km) north-west of Napa.

The valley runs south-east to north-west between Boonville and Navarro, a distance of roughly 16 miles (25km). Its northern half follows the course of the Navarro river, which begins on the southern side of Philo township, at the confluence of Rancheria and Anderson creeks. Its southern half follows Anderson Creek between Boonville and Philo. On a relief map, the Anderson Valley appears to be a natural continuation of Alexander Valley, which starts at the meeting point of the Sonoma and Napa valleys. From the air, the northern Californian wine valleys form an elongated 'x' shape, of which Anderson Valley forms the north-western leg.

The lower (north-eastern) end of the Anderson valley is located ten miles (16km) from the Pacific Ocean. Narrow and low lying, the valley is perfectly positioned and shaped to funnel ocean breezes and fog in from the Pacific coast. Rain is also plentiful, making this one of the coolest regions of California - though there is significant temperature variation along the valley's length.

The south-eastern end of the valley is around 20 miles (32km) from the coast, and is consequently up to 10 degrees warmer than the north-western end, allowing such varieties as Cabernet Sauvianon, Merlot and even Zinfandel to ripen towards the end of the long growing season. There are a small number of Zinfandel vines in Anderson Valley vineyards which are more than 100 years old - some of the oldest in the US, in fact. These still produce outstanding concentrated wines today, but in a lighter, finer style than is traditionally associated with this robust red variety. Although measurably warmer, the south-eastern section of the valley is still subject to the cooling effects of fog and wind: this is detectable in the balanced acidity and relatively light body of the finished wines.

Mostly cool-climate varieties are grown in the north-western end of the valley, where proximity to the Pacific Ocean lowers the temperature. Sparkling wines produced here are of exceptional quality, prompting the French Champagne house Louis Roederer to set up a local winery, Roederer Estate. Anderson Valley's Pinot Noir has a sweet, uncomplicated, unique style, and Chardonnay does especially well. Excellent examples of Riesling and Gewurztraminer are also produced, leading to the establishment of the International Alsace Varietals Festival.

Boonville plays host each year to the aforementioned Alsatian varietals festival (in February) and a Pinot Noir festival (in early summer), demonstrating the importance of wine to the local culture and economy. Each of the varieties successful in Alsace (Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer is considered a cool-climate variety, as is Pinot Noir. The prevalence of these cool-dimate varieties in Anderson is significant, and is in sharp contrast to the preference for warmer-climate varieties (Cabernet Sauvionon, Zinfandel, Syrah and Petite Sirah) favored in the warmer climes to the south-east, such as the lower Sonoma Valley.

MENDOCINO COUNTY

Mendocino County represents the northern limits of California's quality wine-growing regions, and even within the county's limits there is a clear vineyard bias towards its southern half. There are wine-bearing vineyards further north, in Humboldt and Del Norte counties, but neither of these has an AVA within its county lines. Mendocino, by contrast, is home to more than ten AVAs, among them the famous Anderson Valley. The Mendocino AVA which bears the county's name is something of a catch-all title and incorporates more than five other location-specific AVAs within its boundaries.

Mendocino County is one of the state's largest wine-growing areas (although far from the most densely planted), and is recognized for the diversity and quality in its wines. Climatic variation between inland and coastal areas is largely to thank for the broad range of wine styles made here. It was the cool, moist climes of the Anderson Valley which caught the attention of Louis Roederer, and led this Champagne giant to establish the Roederer Estate vineyards there.

Viticulture in Mendocino dates back to the California Gold Rush of the mid-1800s, although there was a significant hiatus in wine production here (as everywhere in the US all across the US) during Prohibition in the early-1900s. As is happening all over the world, particularly in New World wine regions, new wine-growing terroirs are being discovered in this area each year, pushing California's viticultural regions further north.

Nearly all vineyards within Mendocino County are situated in the southern half of the county, although unusually for California, they lean
towards the inland areas rather than the coast. The county is divided into two distinct climatic zones by the Mendocino Range, one of several mountain ranges which make up the Pacific Coast Ranges. The inland area, sheltered from the cooling effects of the Pacific Ocean, is significantly warmer and drier. This area is classified as Region III on the Amerine and Winkler climate classification scale, in contrast to the Region I classification of Anderson Valley.

Wines from the Mendocino County AVAs are often described as being good value for money, a tag which plagued Chilean wines throughout the 1980s and 1990s. This is not necessarily because the county's wines are of lesser quality, but because its AVA titles are less famous than their southern counterparts in the Sonoma and Napa counties. Correspondingly, land prices are also lower here than further south. Many winemakers concentrate on growing organic grapes, with nearly 20% of the county's total production certified as such - more than any other wine region in California.

The cooler areas of the Mendocino County AVA produce outstanding Pinot Noir. Chardonnay and sparkling wines. The Alsatian white-grape varieties Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris have also found a home here, while the warmer parts of the region are suitable for growing more robust reds, such as Cabernet Sauvionon, Petite Sirah, Syrah and Zinfandel.

References: farehamwinecellar and wine-searcher 

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