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2010 RD Cuvée Magnum

Explaining ‘R.D.’


Lenz sparkling wines are always made using the traditional ‘methode Champenoise’.


As readers likely already know, this method involves fermenting a wine in a large vessel (we use a stainless steel tank) until it is dry (no sugar left).  This dry wine is then placed in extra-thick wine bottles, with the addition of a small amount of unfermented grape juice, containing some yeast.  The bottle is sealed with what looks like a beer-bottle crown-cap and inside the new wine happily ferments a second time, generating carbon dioxide.  Since the CO2 cannot escape it dissolves in the wine and eventually re-emerges as delicate bubbles in a Champagne flute.  


At this stage, dead yeast cells are also inside this bottle.  So the wine is ‘finished’ via a complicated and labor-intensive process that first brings the dead yeast cells into the neck of the bottle; the wine in the neck, about 2 inches of it, are then frozen and the beer cap removed.  The internal pressure ejects this frozen ‘plug’.  Because the remaining wine is very cold, very little carbon dioxide escapes from the bottle (CO2 is very soluble in cold water, less so in room temperature water).  After topping up the bottle to replace the lost material in the plug, a cork is inserted in the neck and held in place with a wire hood.  Voila!  Or perhaps I should say, “There you go!”


That’s the complete process, however, it is normal to store the wine for a while after Step Two and before Step Three.  This aging develops more complexity in the wine.  A typical period for aging in the bottles in this way is 2-3 years.


What then is ‘RD’?  ‘RD’ is an abbreviation of a French phrase that translates in English as ‘Recently Disgorged’.  Another way of saying it would be ‘Extended Age’.  Either way, what it means is that the wine is left much longer in the bottle before finishing, to develop more complexity and character.


And so to the Lenz 2010 RD Cuvee in magnums…..


We recently disgorged and finished about 50 cases of Lenz Cuvee from the excellent 2010 vintage.  This wine has been gently aging in our Cuvee cellar* for 12 full years.  And now it has recently been disgorged - - hence ‘R.D. Cuvee’.


How does it taste?  Seven of us sat down to taste it recently (January 2023) and we were very impressed with this wine.  On one hand, it has clearly benefited from the extended aging.  On the other, it is still fresh and vibrant.


In the glass, the R.D. Cuvee is a pale platinum-silver color and displays plenty of fresh bubbles (RD wines can sometimes be a bit less effervescent).  The aging has imparted plenty of ‘nutty-yeasty’ notes.  But the wine is notable for its fresh, tangy and mouth-filling flavors.  Among our tasters, we heard ‘lemony’, ‘zesty’, ‘beach limes’ (are they a thing?), ‘tangy’.  This is simply a delightful wine and in the magnum bottle it’s perfect for any gathering of more than 3 or 4 people with something to celebrate!


* Underneath the Lenz Winery Tasting Room there is a cellar where we age all our sparkling wines (alongside those we make for selected other North Fork wineries).  It is everything a ‘Champagne Cellar’ should be: even temperature, slightly humid, a few spiderwebs….. and it is available for reservation by visitors for special tastings.  Ask us about it.

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