Thursday, December 9, 2010

Biltmore Estate Blanc de Blancs Méthode Champenoise Brut

I made a deal with myself this year, to watch the holiday specials I watched as a kid with a glass of sparkling wine. Suddenly I find myself watching every holiday special known to man…ok, just kidding. The holidays are steeped in tradition and are meant to be celebrated and what better way to celebrate than with a glass of bubbly. My recent sample of Biltmore Estate Blanc de Blancs Méthode Champenoise Brut is steeped in tradition dating back to Christmas Eve 1895.

Tiny fine bubbles burst to the top of the glass. Aromas carry faint honey and citrus notes. Flavors are full of floral, apricot and a hint of yeast. Nice acidity and well balanced, not too sweet and not too dry.

Varietal – 100% Chardonnay
Origin – California Russian River Valley
pH – 2.96
TA – 0.91
RS – 1.4%
Alcohol – 12.2%
SRP - $25.

The Biltmore Estate Vineyards located in Asheville, NC were planted in 1971 and are visited by more than 1 million visitors annually, making them the most visited vineyards in the US. But the Biltmore history and tradition goes back much further; to 1895 to be exact. In that year George Vanderbilt’s 250 room country retreat was completed and on Christmas Eve, Vanderbilt opened his bachelor pad (yes he was single with a 250 room chateau) to family and friends for the first time. The first Christmas tree was placed in the Banquet Hall which has remained the focal point for Christmas celebrations since.

In 1889 George married Edith Stuyvesant Dresser and continued to retreat to the Estate until his sudden death in 1914. Edith stayed on at the Estate and made the decision to sell 80,000 acres of Pisgah Forest, later becoming America’s first national forest. The decision to sell, not only allowed the Estate to remain financially stable but also ensured the land would be preserved and untouched for future generations. This desire to promote sustainability coupled with George’s love of wines marries well with the decision to add the vineyards.

Well I better start plotting my holiday specials for the evening and make sure I have plenty more bottles of bubbly on hand. Stayed tuned, many more to come.

2010© Kellie Stargaard. All Rights Reserved.

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