2021 'Blanchefleur' Blanc de Blancs
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An elegant & lithe Méthode Traditionnelle sparkling with a clean, crisp, dry finish balanced with delicious aromatics of brioche & lingering lemon notes. Blanchefleur is a vintage sparkling cuvee which embodies the purity of our cool-climate Chardonnay grapes and meticulous approach to winemaking.
Nearly 900 years ago under the patronage of Marie, Countess of Champagne, Chrétien de Troyes penned the first romantic novel and first written account of the Quest for the Holy Grail called le Conte du Graal. The story follows the quest of the young knight, Perceval, as he seeks out the Fisher King. He encounters a besieged castle (Chateau de Beaurepaire) commanded by a beautiful lady (Blanchefleur). Perceval falls in love with Blanchefleur after which he challenges the besieging knight to single combat, is victorious, liberates the castle and later marries Blanchefleur de Beaurepaire. A great inspiration for one of our premium wines, and as the translation of Blanchefleur means White Flower we thought it appropriate for a White of Whites sparkling wine.
The de Beaurepaire family’s estate is in the valley above Rylstone in the Central Ranges (GI) of NSW. The vineyard is located on an ancient coral reef located just off the shore of Gondwana (450MYO) which formed a band of limestone (Coomber Formation) running north/south that appears in valleys where the younger Rylstone volcanic rock has been eroded away. 55 hectares of vines were planted in 1998. The vineyard is 150km inland and 580-650m altitude with a North-East aspect. Soil structure is shallow (<1m) sandy-loam mixed with limestone; the temperature range is as cool as Tasmania and Central Otago through the growing season; and the climate is inland/continental (large day/night variation) creating a terroir similar to Burgundy (the ancestral home of the de Beaurepaire family for nearly 1,000 years). The temperature range is also very similar to Champagne – during the growing season (October-April), our low/high/average of 11.9/21.7/16.9 degrees Celsius vs Champagne low/high/average of 10.7/23.1/16.9 degrees Celsius.
All Chardonnay sourced from C Block (I10V5 and Bernard 76 clones), with an average vine age of 22 years. The soils are very shallow (down to 30cm in spots), predominantly free-flowing sand with a little clay over limestone bedrock moderately sloping down to the river.
Harvest: Individually selected parcels of Chardonnay were harvested through a combination of hand and machine harvesting on the evening of 19 February with a baumé of 12.3. Yield 5.9t/ha (~32hl/ha)
Vintage Conditions: Drought breaking rain over Winter in 2020, produced high soil moisture content, which led to a one-to two-week early budburst on 28 September 2020. Unfortunately, we were then hit by a hard frost in early October which cut yields by up to 90% in early budburst varieties (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Semillon). The summer was relatively cool, with rainfall ensuring very active canopy management. Ripening was slow and steady. A year for great acidity, lower alcohol and medium flavour development.
The fruit was 100% de-stemmed & very gently pressed to retain premium free-run juice (the cuvée). Primary fermentation at 15 degrees was conducted in the tank using native (“wild”) yeasts, delivering beautiful primary fruit characters. The wine undergoes a full malolactic fermentation to produce excellent mouthfeel & richness. Very light fining. Secondary fermentation on lees lasted 12 months.
Dosage 3g/litre. pH: 3.36. TA: 7.3g/l.
Extra Brut. The wine has a savoury, buttery beautifully balanced crisp palate, with very desired overtones on the nose of yeasty bread and brioche. It has tight bubbles and lingering notes of melon and lemon.
Vin et Gastronomie
An aperitif or beautifully matched with lobster and seafood (especially with creamy sauces); crispy chicken, scallops and truffles (celeriac puree); pork belly; and white meats.
Cellaring Potential: 10 to 20 years
Serving Temperature: 8 degrees C / 47 degrees F
VARIETAL MIX: 100% Chardonnay
GI: Central Ranges (Rylstone), NSW