Sparkling wine — local or not — comes in myriad styles. It can be made with any grape (though some are obviously better than others). It can be made in various ways —Methode Champenoise, Methode Ancestral, Charmat, etc. And within each of those techniques, there are many winemaker decisions that ultimately define what the wine will taste like.
There are times when I want sparkling wine to be yeasty, funky and autolytic — autolysis being the various chemical reactions that take place when a wine spends time in contact with the lees, or dead yeast cells, after fermentation. Some of the best Champagne in the world features this nutty quality.
Lately, however, I’m finding myself wanting bubbly that is pure, clean and driven more by fruit and mineral flavors.
This week’s Wine of the Week — Lieb Cellars 2013 Reserve Sparkling Pinot Blanc ($38) — deftly satiates that craving.
Fresh and bright, the nose offers aromas of just-ripe pear, lemon zest, green apple and citrus blossom with only the most subtle, honey and yeasty qualities.
Bone dry, crisp and refreshing, the focused palate combines fruit flavors like pear, green apple and citrus with a beautiful saline minerality. Gentle mid-palate richness is balanced by frothy, persistent bubbles and well-integrated acidity make this a versatile wine at the table — a good pairing for most anything. I even like it with grilled red meat.
It sells for $38 at the winery’s Oregon Road tasting room.