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

2 Comments

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.

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Comments

  1. Rusty Gaffney

    August 1, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    Eric – this was apparently a tasting of low dosage sparkling wines so I don’t understand how the Lenoble Brut Nature at zero dosage made the tasting – unfair to compare? If low dosage is the rage, why did the majority prefer zero dosage?

    Rusty

  2. Eric Anderson

    August 8, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    Prince – here’s what was poured at the tasting:

    NV Lenoble Brut Nature – $38
    2009 Larmandier-Bernier “Terre Vertus” Brut Nature – $60
    NV Marion-Bosser 1er Cru Extra Brut – $47
    NV George Laval Brut Nature – $70
    NV Pierre Gerbais “L’Audace” Brut Nature – $50
    NV Ployez-Jacquemart “Passion” Extra Brut – $42
    NV Jacquesson “Cuvee 736″ Extra Brut – $62
    NV Bereche “Rive Gauche” Extra Brut – $65
    NV Jean Vesselle Extra Brut – $46
    2004 Franck Pascal Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut – $63

    The event was billed as a “Low Dosage” tasting, and I think it lived up to the billing with 4 Brut Nature wines and 6 Extra Brut wines. (Brut Nature = less than 3 grams per liter; Extra Brut = Less than 6 grams/liter.) I was sitting with two others, and we preferred the Lenoble over the rest – especially if considering pricing. My next favorites were the: Jacquesson, Jean Vessella, and Franck Pascal. Interestingly, the Bereche was all Pinot Meunier.