WINE REVIEW: Pheasant Ridge 2015 ‘Blanc de Noirs’ Sparkling Wine, Texas High Plains ($30)
by Andrew Chalk
Sparkling wine has been one of the growth categories in Texas wine over the last few years. There are several ways to make it, from carbonating still wine like a soda (the ‘bicycle pump’ as the French call it) to the ‘traditional method’ which is used, indeed required, of the best known sparkling wine in the world, Champagne. It is the most expensive and elaborate method, requiring two fermentations and the making of each wine in the bottle. Despite the pain, most experts agree that it delivers the gain, and the most prestigious sparkling wines in the world all use this method.
This Texas sparkling wine is made with the traditional method from 60% Pinot Noir, 12% Chardonnay, 14% Chenin Blanc, and 14% Pinot Gris. That is a combination of the grapes of Champagne, the sparkling wines of the Loire Valley, and of Alsace. It is all estate fruit, but for the purchased Pinot Gris. It is aged on the lees for 32 months.
The result is a sprightly, yeasty wine with almond and citrus flavors. It is likely most wine lovers would not pick it out in a lineup of sparkling wines, the rest of which were from Champagne. For the price, it is good value. All this wine needs is to be discovered, and the last 100 of the 400 cases made will be sold in an instant.
Purchase from the winery.