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Just When You Thought You Knew French Wine

The Wine of the Week: Bugey-Cerdon La Cueille Sparkling Rosé

by Annette Tomei

NV Patrick Bottex Bugey-Cerdon “La Cueille”, Savoie, FranceNV Patrick Bottex, Bugey-Cerdon--and you thought you knew French wine

I’ll admit that I never heard of this region until I tasted this wine at my favorite wine bar. I remember thinking to myself, “And you thought you knew French wine! I even had to look up the pronunciation (Boo-zhey Sehr-dawn). I never let my awful French stop me from enjoying all the wines and cheeses that country has to offer!

Bugey is an appellation in the southern Jura mountains. Cerdon is a vineyard in that appellation – one of three deserving of its own name on the bottle. Bugey-Cerdon only has one kind of wine… sparkling rosé, typically in the off-dry style made from the grapes Gamay and Poulsard (a local grape).

The bubbles of Bugey-Cerdon are unique in terms of the production method used to produce them. The Ancestral Method is unlike the more common traditionelle (champenoise) and charmat methods. The wines are bottled before the initial fermentation is complete. After fermentation, the spent yeast is removed from the bottles to release some built up pressure and prevents further fermentation. Then the corks are placed. The resulting wine still has a bit of sweetness and a much lower alcohol content than most wines.

The producer of this wine, Patrick Bottex, began farming a 5 hectare parcel of land in 1991. Only a small amount of this special wine is produced.

About this Wine

The dusty-purple-pink rose color is just the start to this wine’s special beauty. The aroma of a field of ripening strawberries comes next. On the palate it is bright and juicy with the flavor of the aforementioned berries plus ripe plums. The mousse is satiny smooth and lush, aided by the hint of sweetness. The finish, however, is mineral and bone dry – begging for another sip.

Because of the tart cherry acidity and the touch of sweet, there are so many foods I’d recommend with this wine. For starters, cheese – especially gooey soft aged cheeses. Also, charcuterie of all sorts. But, it doesn’t have to be held to such high standards all the time – I’d also highly recommend trying this wine with spicy barbecue, bacon cheeseburgers, or delivery Thai food.

The Verdict

My tasting notes included a smiley face with the message “friendly happy wine” – seems I am not the first to think that. I later read an article about Bugey that quoted writer Jon Bonné as calling it “the happiest wine on earth”. Guess I’m in good company!

Since I’m writing this at a time of year when my inbox fills with questions about pairing wine for Thanksgiving Dinner, I am happy to say that this will be on the top of my list for recommendations. At approximately $18-25/bottle, it’s reasonable enough for a holiday table… and low enough in alcohol (8% ABV) that only the tryptophan will be to blame for the post-dinner napping.

 

My new mission… to taste things I’ve never tasted before – either because I’m a snob, I can’t afford it, or it’s just a little too weird. I’ll let you know what I thought, and then you can decide for yourself if you will make the splurge, or take the leap into the strange but potentially delicious unknown!

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