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Lieb Cellars 2011 Reserve Blanc de Blancs
Lieb Cellars 2011 Reserve Blanc de Blancs. (Credit: Courtesy photo)

Aromas and flavors can transport us in many ways. A super-ripe, ultra-extracted wine from the left coast plops us down in the midst of a California summer — hot and almost always sunny during the day, cool at night. Certain European wines always remind me of the mountains and countryside where they are grown — fresh and breezy and blanketed by wild herbs. 

Lieb Cellars‘ 2011 Blanc de Blancs, the rare sparkling wine made from 100 percent pinot blanc, affects me in a similar way, though instead of taking me to a different place, it takes me to a different time. The 2001 vintage of this wine is the one my wife and I toasted one another with on our wedding day.

The wine is different today, of course. 2001 was a warmer season. The winemaker was different back then, too. But there is still a purity and linearity here — a vein of minerality that runs right up the middle of green apple and citrus flavors. This bottling spent four years on the lees, giving it a yeasty, doughy character that also rounds out the palate just a bit. As it warms from ice cold, a honeyed note emerges, bringing a bit more complexity.

Traditionally made sparkling wine is a time-consuming and expensive process, which makes this wine all the better a value at $30 — less than what many similar local sparklers go for.

Lenn Thompson