Champagne you’ve said? Ahh! This really gives me headaches. Not because of what’s in there but because I can’t figure out weither I like it or not: “complicated” would be our relationship status. Whatever i think, liking Champagne or not is a bit categorical when you see the huge variety that is made in the region. But we all have to make generalities first before going deeper in the heart of this subject.
And- as a French I should be loving the simple word Champagne should wet my eyes… for excitment. Instead I could say I generally much rather prefer drinking some other sparks, them being French or exotic.
The first exemple would be the one of Portugese Sparkling Wines: Espumente. Unknown to a regular Frenchie.
I arrived in Lisbon at the Gemelli restaurant for 3 days of wine madness- Hop! I was straight served a glass of a very relaxing and fresh sparkling. I sigh not so delighted. And…Bing! I felt very well surprised and confortable with it. “Context” ladies and gentleman! With bubble like with many other things… context is half of what you feel. Nothing to do with this Espumente, So I Thought.
But then, the last day of the conference, after my palate god accomodated to the country flavours, Hop! I was served a glass of sparkling again. Hips! Once again, I felt at ease enough to come back to the pourer and ask for more. Really, I love those bubbles! And it is surprising as not like for Champagne not everyone does have a passion for Portugese bubbles. Then you think… This chick was at restaurant Eleven that must be why. Have you ever pictured what a night on the stared restaurant is like? Gorgeous.
So…Portugese bubbles… An unknown delight. But then who are these charming bubbles?
- 1# Quinta da Romeira, Espumente – 2005 from Joao Correa/ Nuno do O.
- Region: Estremadura
- Winemaking: traditional method
- Grape: Arinto
- Color: Citric Yellow
- Notes: Elegant with notes of almond and Lime, refreshing, creamy and earthy with fine bubbles and a persistent finish. Yummy
- 2# Vinha Formal, Espumante 2008, Luiz Pato (one of the most important names in the Portuguese oenology)
- Region: Bairrada
- winemaking: traditional method
- grape: Bical, Touriga Nacional
- Refined with notes of white fruits and minerals, this espumente has a high acidity and good length –possible thanks to the climate given by the nearby sea.
- Here is an extract from a brillant article from Gabriella for Catavino:
What is listed in wine encyclopedias, wine journals, websites and Portuguese books barely skim topic as to what defines a Portuguese sparkling wine.
Espumante, pronounced esh-pu-man-te, is the Portuguese version of a sparkling wine.
And unlike cava, produced solely in northern climates, Espumante is not only produced in the northern wet region of Vinho Verde, but also throughout Portugal all the way to the southern region of the Alentejo, known for its extreme temperatures and arid climate. (…)
when we make sparkling wine, regardless of the method of winemaking, we always must start with a still wine, a wine that has completed its first fermentation. From this point forwards, there are three different ways a wine can become a sparkling wine based on the winemaking method chosen by the producer: traditional champagne, charmat or transfer method. (…)
So what can we tell you about the quality of Portuguese sparkling wines, absolutely incredible. From our experience tasting Espumantes both in Portugal and here in Spain, they are expressive, fragrant wines with great acidity and rich, earthy fruit flavors. Beyond that, like the majority of Portuguese wines, you can find incredible quality at a very low price.
Want the full version? read it there… http://catavino.net/blog/portuguese-sparkling-wines/
And while you’re reading this.. I am still trying more and more Champagne to make up my mind (hard knock life). More very soon on the topic!