Friday, 30 December 2011

Brancott Estate “Brut Cuvée” (NV)

Named in honour of the Brancott vineyard, the Brancott Estate’s original vineyard in Marlborough (New Zealand), Brancott (the producer behind this Brancott Estate “Brut Cuvée”) has for many years been best known outside of New Zealand for its excellent Sauvignon Blanc that also comes from Marlborough. However, now one of New Zealand’s most recognised brands, Brancott Estate has also branched out into the production of sparkling wines, one of which is this Brancott Estate “Brut Cuvée”.

A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, this Brancott Estate “Brut Cuvée” was clearly crafted with Champagne in mind. Only neglecting Pinot Meunier from a traditional Champagne blend of grapes, this Brancott Estate “Brut Cuvée” is also vinified in almost the same way as Champagne with the bubbles within this Brancott Estate “Brut Cuvée” being derived from a secondary fermentation in bottle and with “lees aging” in bottle adding complexity (just like in Champagne).

The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes destined for this Brancott Estate “Brut Cuvée” are harvested from selected vineyard sites across the regions Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough in New Zealand. In order to preserve the acidity of this Brancott Estate “Brut Cuvée”, the harvest is slightly earlier than is the case for Brancott Estate’s still wines.

In the glass, this Brancott Estate “Brut Cuvée” is a pale lemon colour, with a fairly low alcoholic content displayed by legs that dissipate quickly when this Brancott Estate “Brut Cuvée” is swirled. A constant stream of bubbles flows from the base of the glass.

Aromatically, comparisons to Champagne can again be made. Lemon citrus notes of medium intensity, a hint of pineapple and aromas of ripe white peach lead the bouquet of this Brancott Estate “Brut Cuvée”. Also present are obvious autolytic (yeast derived) aromas of fresh bread that confirm that this Brancott Estate “Brut Cuvée” underwent secondary fermentation in bottle.

On the palate, this Brancott Estate “Brut Cuvée” is dry and medium bodied. Here, the autolytic notes from the nose of this Brancott Estate “Brut Cuvée” are more prominent and add a sense weight to the other citrus, tropical and stone fruit flavours. Moderate to long, this Brancott Estate “Brut Cuvée” fades on a wash of prevalent acidity.
Brancott Estate “Brut Cuvée” Chardonnay / Pinot Noir (NV)

Score: 84/100 – A very well resolved wine, this Brancott Estate “Brut Cuvée” emulates the basic flavours of Champagne successfully (albeit with a slightly tropical note to the fruit). Well developed, this Brancott Estate “Brut Cuvée” should be drunk now with delicately flavoured seafood dishes or crisp green salads.

Value for Money: 9/10 – Available for around £9 per bottle, this Brancott Estate “Brut Cuvée” offers great value. Few sparkling wines at this price see double fermentation, fewer still are as accomplished as this Brancott Estate “Brut Cuvée”.