Naveran Brut Nature Cava ($16.99)
From the producer:
"Naveran is the surname of a family dedicated to cultivating its vineyards and producing its own artisanal wines and cavas. Its cellars are located in the estate of Can Parellada (Torrelavit), in the center of the Alt Penedés. The fact that it’s run by grape growers and wine producers, allowing them to be intimately involved in the cultivation and production process, to oversee the growth and quality of the grapes and to create innovative cuttings of their own vines, sets this winery apart from the majority of wineries in this region.
Naveran cultivates its vines using purely ecological methods: no pesticides or herbicides, all fertilizers are organic. In the event of heavy rains, the grapes are allowed to fall to ensure a quality harvest.
Macabeo, Xarel.lo, Parellada , Chardonnay
Collection, pressing and fermentation of the four varieties takes place separately in stainless steel vats at a low temperature, coupage in November, tirage and second fermentation in bottles typical of the méthode champenoise for a minimum of two years followed by riddling, disgorging, corking and labeling before it arrives in your hands.
Pale and luminous yellow, regular and good detachment of small bubbles that form a crown on the surface.
First impression is pleasant, refined and light aromas, secondary aromas characteristic of ageing in bottles with hints of fruit, flowers and spice.
Exquisite in the mouth, full and creamy, very dry and refreshing at the same time, with balanced acidity and elegant, fruity and long-lasting after-taste.
Good balance, with a pleasant after-taste and a good presence."
Brut Nature is a style, and it means that after disgorgement and before corking no dosage (base wine + sugar) is added to the final product. That means that this is the driest of the sparkling wines. Brut Nature wines can be a little harsh, but I don't find that to be the case at all with Naveran. This is a well-made, bright wine that has just enough creaminess to balance the dryness.
Cantine Monfort Blanc de Sers Brut Nature ($21.99)
From the producer:
"Blanc de Sers Brut Nature is a sparkling wine produced in according to Metodo Classico method: nine months on the lees obtained from the grapes Valderbara, Vernaza and Nosiola cultivated on the terraced hills of Serso and Viarago. The optimal altitude between 550 and 700 meters a.s.l., the particular acidity of these grapes and their delicate aroma combined with the right period of ageing on the lees provide a quality creamy sparkling with a fresh and enchanting bouquet. Brut nature, zero dosage or pas dosé, the choice of our sparkling wine master to make in the flûte what grapes and terroir have to say.
Colour: pale yellow.
Bouquet: white flowers and a hint of green apple enhanced by a touch of hay.
Perlage: enhances the flavor and length.
Excellent as an aperitif, it goes very well with light appetizers, with dishes based on fresh water fish and seafood, soup and mushrooms."
I carry several wines from Cantine Monfort because they are doing a great job of making high quality wines from lesser known, indigenous grapes. This sparkling wine is elegant and delicious, and is a nice step up from Prosecco. Perfect for a hot summer evening's celebrations!
Domaine Mittnacht Freres Crémant d'Alsace ($23.99)
From the producer:
"It is at the foot of the fortified church of Hunawihr, that since three generations, the Mittnacht family elaborates wines of high expression.
Paul, the grandfather, passed on his know-how to his two sons, André and Louis. The latter, combining their efforts, created the Domaine Mittnacht Frères in 1963. The Mittnacht family currently has 23 hectares of vineyards spread over the best terroirs of Hunawihr, Ribeauvillé and Mittelwihr.
Marc, creator of the wine and son of André, and Christophe, commercial and son of Louis, have since 1995 given a new impetus to the company. The two cousins have been conducting their vineyards in respect of the environment for several years. No synthetic products in the vineyard, a great respect for the natural cycle of the vine and its soil, grape harvesting and sorting entirely manual, a minimum of interventions in cellar and no use of oenological products (except for one minimum sulfur content) in order to better respect the quality of the grapes. This philosophy naturally pushes them to engage their domain, since 1999, in organic and biodynamic culture, that which respects the environment, the health of the consumers and especially the personality and the identity of the wines resulting from the great Appellations of Origin Controlled. This approach is certified by Ecocert and Demeter, certification bodies approved by the French Ministry of Agriculture.
Demeter certified biodynamic
60% Pinot Auxerrois, 10% Pinot Blanc, 10% Riesling, 10% Pinot Gris, 10% Pinot Noir
25+ year old vines
High density plantings
Aged on the lees for 18 months"
This is one of my very favorite sparkling wines. The term "Crémant" simply denotes that this is a sparkling wine made in France, in the Champagne method, but outside of the boundaries of the Champagne area. It is from Alsace, where the Pinots of all varieties thrive, and it's partly the unusual blend of all of them that I find compelling and delicious. This is an "extra brut," which means that unlike brut nature, there is dosage, but with a smaller measure of sugar than you'd find in a brut. This is a beautiful and unique wine, worthy of attention.