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I thought I’d begin June’s Month of Rosé with a bang; the first sparkling wine made in Northern Arizona: the 2016 Pinot Noir Frizzante Blush from Del Rio Springs. Well, okay, more like a pop, that is.  And I should specify; the first I’m aware of.  It may well be the first sparkling rosé in the state, for that matter. (Kent Callaghan, as far as I’m aware, has made the first sparkling wine from Arizona fruit that was made in the state, or at least the first that is/will be commercially available soon).  Now, since sparkling wine is a new thing for this fantastic state of mine, I hope you’ll bear with me in describing what is largely unexplored territory for me.

2016 Pinot Noir Frizzante

The 2016 Pinot Noir Frizzante from Del Rio Springs Vineyard in the waters of Bitter Creek.

The Wine: I asked Rick Skladzien, the winemaker, how the 2016 Pinot Noir Frizzante wine was made.  I will quote his reply here directly:

“First we destemmed the Pinot and lightly pressed at 2 bars and gently pumped the juice directly into the SS [Stainless Steel] tank.  The juice settled overnight, racked to a second SS tank and fermented to dry.  The wine sat on fine yeast for a couple months and racked to SS to mellow out for another 2 months.  The cuvée went through our modified Charmant process where we fermented in 15 gallon SS kegs to 20 psi.  The wine was then chilled to settle the yeast and achieve tartaric stability.  The wine was then gently pushed through a final filter using CO2 just ahead of the counter pressure filler system.  Prior to filling, each bottle received a final dosage resulting in an off dry slightly bubbly wine.”

The wine itself is a salmon-coral pink, with larger bubbles.

The Nose: I’ve always found it different to write about the aromas of sparkling wines; I’ve yet to find a good glass that works for their aroma, and swirling the wines as you would a still wine just releases more bubbles, making it difficult (for me, anyway). The nose opens with notes of rose, lily, and strawberry.  Additional notes of raspberry and minerality emerge as well.

The Palate: The palate opens with notes of strawberry, bing cherry, white flowers, and sweet raspberry. Additional notes of lavender, peony, lilac, and, and white tea. There is a nice balance between acidity and sweetness; though I personally would have preferred a higher acidity, myself. There’s also a tiny bit of earthiness on the finish, intermingling with notes of white tea and white cherry, which lasts for about 25 seconds. There is also a strong raspberry sweetness that plays with the palate.

The Pairing: Strawberries covered with white chocolate was my immediate thought, but this wine could also pair well with spicy food like sushi, stuffed jalapenos, or fried pickles.  Honestly, I want to pair this wine with finger food and appetizers, more than anything else!

Impressions: I admit, I was a bit dubious when I held the bottle at first, but I found myself pleasantly surprised when I cracked this bottle open with a friend after a day at the CSW class.  It’s well-balanced, and really quite fun to drink.  This would be a good wine for a hot summer day.

I’ve mentioned before that Pinot Noir is kind of like the goth girl at school; prone to a difficult to understand nature, and often misunderstood.  There was a woman in my high school like that, except for her, everything was pink. I found her intimidating and confusing at first, but then I got to know her and she was pretty cool. Urban dictionary tells me that there is an actual category for this sort of thing: the Sparkle Goth (or Glitter Goth).  I haven’t talked to said friend in years, sadly, but this wine reminds me a lot of her.