Baron de Seillac French Sparkling Rose

This week I have another wine to try from the Wine Feed, a new wine bar and bottle shop in Durham. A tried this wine in a series of sparkling wines they had to taste during their Grand Opening, and I liked it so much that I decided to buy a bottle. This is a sparkling rose from the Provence region of Southern France. It comes from a family winery, one of the few family owned wineries currently making sparkling wine in Southern France. The grandfather started experimenting with making sparkling wines in his garage in the 1940's, and the winery has grown from there and been passed down to a younger generation.

What makes sparkling wine sparkling? Regular wine undergoes only one fermentation process, but sparkling wine needs two fermentations. The first one is to make the wine, like a typical wine fermentation, and the second fermentation makes the carbonation. There are six different methods of conducting the second fermentation, and they produce different kinds of sparkling wine. Most French sparkling wines use the traditional method. In the traditional method, the carbonation that takes the wine from a regular wine to a sparkling wine happens entirely in the bottle. After the first fermentation, yeast and sugar are added to the wine, and it gets bottled to begin the second fermentation. As the yeast ferments inside the bottle, carbon dioxide is created as a byproduct of the process, and it's trapped inside the bottle. The carbon dioxide is what makes the wine bubbly. After the yeast has fermented and died, it stays inside the bottle for the aging process. The dead yeast help develop the texture and "mouth-feel" of the wine. Once the wine is done aging, the bottle is turned upside down so that all the dead yeast settles at the neck. The bottle dipped into freezing liquid, which cause the dead yeast to all freeze together in the neck. The bottle is then opened, and the frozen yeast shoots out. Small amounts of additional wine and sugar are added to fill the bottle after space is left from the yeast being removed. And that's how sparkling wine is made using the traditional method. I won't go into the other five methods of making sparkling wine today, but look out in the coming months as I plan to try a sparkling made with each different method.

This wine was delightfully refreshing and crisp. The scent notes were very subtle and faint, but before I tasted it I smelled a hint of strawberries and some minerality, kind of like the smell of a pebble path after it rains. When I tasted it the notes came through stronger. The same light strawberry note was up front, with a subtle floral note as well. The minerality came in much stronger on the back end, along with a subtle biscuit note and a light flavor of butter, kind of like when you buy lite popcorn at the grocery store. There was a hint of butter, but it didn't have the richness and fullness of a buttery chardonnay. This was a well-balanced dry rose, and the bubbles lasted a few days. I didn't finish the bottle the night that I opened it, and it was still delightfully fizzy when I opened it up again two days later.

I drank this wine with a light dessert of strawberries and french macarons. The bubbles and the minerality played wonderfully off the airy and sweet macarons. This would also be a great wine to enjoy with a feta and watermelon salad, or before dinner in place of a cocktail. This was a great value for a sparkling rose, and I would definitely buy it again.

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