We were so fortunate to enjoy a virtual tasting with winemaker Sharon Fenchek as she led us in exploring her Biltmore Estate Château Reserve Méthode Champenoise 2017 North Carolina Blanc de Blancs Brut Sparkling Wine.
First our tasting notes.
Pale Lemon in color.
Dry, light body, high acidity, medium alcohol.
Nose of green apple, lemon, almond, and biscuit.
Medium flavors of green apple, lemon, peach, apricot, pear, almond, and biscuit.
Overall quality is good.
Additional Notes from our virtual tasting:
As mentioned we participated in a ZOOM virtual tasting with the winemaker, Sharon Fenchek. We have met Sharon before at industry events, yet never the opportunity to hear her speak specifically on one wine and the winemaking process. I’ll do my best to convey her comments.
It has to be an exceptional growing year for Biltmore to create a sparkling of just North Carolina fruit. Biltmore has currently approx. 50 acres under vine, 10 of which are Chardonnay. FYI, they recently planted some Petite Manseng – a grape producing some excellent wines in the Southeastern U.S.A. 2017 was an exceptional year.
They supplemented with fruit (grape) from other AVA’s in NC. The climates are different and day to night temps can vary 40 degrees F.
2017 was a good year in North Carolina. Fruit free of disease, low PH, high acidity, lots of malic acid, harvested at 19 bricks.
Pressed lightly. (EC1118 Yeast)
After bottling in 2018, wine laid down for 1 year.
Mechanical riddling with Gyropallete. Mechanical process for disgorgement and dosage and resealing.
Thicker bottle because of the pressure inside. Agglomerated corks – look for small round disc glued to ends of the cork.
Difficult with North Carolina Chardonnay to keep the acid high through the entirety of the wine’s taste. A lot of lab testing throughout the process to ensure the quality.
Biltmore today often uses fruit from all over the U.S.A. The most visited winery in the world.
Château Reserve is a historical labeling term for Biltmore which originally referenced all North Carolina fruit used. Therefore as a tip of the hat to the past, the labeling term Méthode Champenoise is used as opposed to Méthode Traditionelle.
Listening to the winemaker describe the winemaking process just blew me away. It’s all mechanical, however, the process is the same as described in our study. Please keep an open mind to wines produced in non-traditional regions. This one is an excellent representation of a good wine produced from fruit harvested in the Southeastern U.S.A.