Monday, February 8, 2010

A Sparkling Three-Way

After our Olympian Dinner Club, Miss Jaq spent the night rather than making the trek back to the Shore. It's not too often we have brunch guests, so I can't think of a better excuse for mimosas?

This was only meant to give us a running start to the morning, so we only had the one glass - and that led to the idea of enjoying the bottle three different ways through the course of the day.

356. 2007 Mount Riley Savee Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough - New Zealand)

We ran across this wine a few months back at the New Zealand tasting event and it was one of our favourites through the evening. I don't recall running across a bubbly Sauvignon Blanc over the years, but I suppose that, if you're ever going to stumble across one, it would make sense that it come from the Kiwis.

Mount Riley isn't a winery that previously came to my mind when talking New Zealand. I don't think I'd tasted any of their wines prior to the big tasting that toured Canada. They are fairly new to the scene, having produced their first vintage in 1996. According to their website, they have quickly grown into one of the top 10 vineyard owners in the Marlborough region and among the top 20 wineries in the country in terms of total sales.

The Savee is made in the traditional champenoise method with secondary fermentation occurring in the bottle. The winemaker has shortened the period of exposure of the wine to the yeast lees during the primary fermentation, however, and the result is brighter fruit characteristics than Champagne's traditional biscuit overtones.

We could have easily finished the bottle off with brunch, but we moved on with the day, allowing ourselves another two shots at the bottle later in the afternoon and evening.

357. Elephant Island Orchard Cassis (Naramata Bench - Okanagan)

Our second run at the Savee was as a kir. We had a bottle of the Elephant Island Cassis and thought this would be a great way to enjoy it. A traditional cassis would be a blackberry liquer (which wouldn't get it onto The List); however, Elephant Island has tweaked the recipe and made a fortified blackberry fruit wine. The tartness of the blackberry and the racing acidity of the Sauvignon Blanc doubled our enjoyment.

Finally, I can't believe it, but I neglected to take a picture of our third component of our vinous three-way - and it was the purest way to enjoy the bubbles. We simply finished off the bottle in a couple of champagne flutes and drank it in the unadulterated manner it shows itself best. Straight-forward, pure and satisfying. Guess we were just enjoying it too much to think of taking the picture.

I suppose I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that Miss Jaq didn't fully participate in all aspects of the three-way. She actually had to get back to the Shore and didn't join us in the kir or the flutes. So, just in case her hunk of a man back on the Arabian Peninsula was concerned, our little threesome with the Savee was simply that - a "menage-au-wine."

Finding the wine to be a wonderful way to celebrate perhaps New Zealand's premium varietal, we'll hope to enjoy a little more of the Life of Riley down the road.

No comments:

Post a Comment