Must-Try Wine of the Week: A. R. Lenoble Brut Nature Zero Dosage, Champagne, France

Hi-Time Wine Cellars held a Champagne tasting recently. But, rather than the usual Brut (Dry) offerings, this time they featured a group of “Low Dosage” wines. Apparently, this particular group of sparkling wines has become all the rage.

Dosage, if you didn’t know, is a liquid that replaces the wine lost through the disgorgement of sparkling wines. Sparkling wine like Champagne is fermented in the bottle, and fitted with a regular bottle cap. After some period of time (from months to years) the bottle’s temporary cap is popped to remove the remnants of fermentation. A bit of sparkling wine is lost in this disgorgement. So, a liquid made from a mixture of reserve wine and pure cane sugar is then injected into the bottle to fill the empty space, prior to sealing the bottle with its cork and wire cage. The quantity of residual sugar that the dosage adds to the wine determines how the Champagne is labeled. In the case of Brut, the residual sugar must be less that 12g/liter. “Brut Nature,” on the other hand, contains less than 3g/liter, so it is “bone dry.”

The star wine at this tasting for me and several others, was a Lenoble Brut Nature, Zero Dosage. Toasty and the tiniest bit yeasty, the wine had wonderful body and mousse, with very nice citrus components. It also had superb acids, giving a juicy mouthfeel. Many times, a wine of this type will be just too sharp in the mouth. Not this time. Lenoble nailed it. Try this with anything from sushi to shellfish to poached fish. Or, if you’re like me, you’ll drink it with almost anything!

The regular Lenoble Brut is lovely, too, but with softer acids. As far as I can tell, the Zero Dosage may only be available at Hi-Time Cellars. The Lenoble Brut is available locally at both Hi-Time Cellars, and Total Wine, for $40 to $55.