Thesis: Nature is the sophisticate, and her calling card is beauty.
The Cliff Notes: Luminous, the wine radiates the faint hue of a sunset and wears an exuberant effervescence of micro-bead bubbles. On the nose it throws earth, citrus, and biscuit to the fore, chervil, pea shoot and melon to the rear. In the middle there is a deep, cold-smoke spring under tension. Beautiful acidity drives lemon, tangerine, Marie Lu biscuit, cumquat and coriander across a mouth-watering palate, leaving a just-kissed impression.
Vineyards: The Pinot Noir grapes for this single-vintage, single-vineyard, single-block Blanc de Noir, our first sparkling effort, came from Temperance Hill’s organic, high-elevation, 31-year old Front Block in the Eola Hills AVA. In the cool growing year of 2011 this block delivered the kind of long natural flavor development and acid-driven chemistry that make world-class bubbles. We had dreamt of it for a decade, but dreaming is not doing. So we did.
The Building of: Over the course of 33 months we intensively and meticulously built these bubbles using the highest Méthode Champenoise tradition. The 100% Pinot noir base wine was whole-cluster pressed and 100% neutral-barrel fermented to absolute dry utilizing a long, slow, low-temperature, wild-yeast regimen. We added lees to the base wine to strip color and broaden an earthy mid-palate. In course, we put it in bottle with a crown cap (racking, tiraging, dosing and refermenting) to create super-fine bubbles. We then rested and rotated it (sur lees, riddling) for 28 months on its fermentation sediment until we attained yeasty complexity. Our final step was blowing the cap and sediment plug on half the bottles (first disgorgement), then topping up (dosage of sugar) and finishing with cork. Drink over the next six years.
Cases Produced: 240 (first disgorgement)
— Jim Prosser, owner/winemaker