Lenz sparkling wines are made using the traditional ‘methode Champenoise’ which, as we all know, was invented in Great Britain in 1662 by Christopher Merrit and copied by the French 35 years later. It’s true - - you can look it up!
Anyway, as readers here will 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 renders it fizzy. But 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!”
So how does it taste? Our Cuvee wines are made 100% with the pinot noir grape; this grape variety has characteristic flavors and aromas. But first we must note that the pinot noir grape is RED. And if you check the 2015 Cuvee, you will see a slight pink color in the finished wine. Since the grapes are very lightly pressed, only a little color comes through and much of that does not survive the fermentation and aging process. But we like the light blush quality in the glass.
Flavor notes include: “Soft raspberry, white cherry, soft-cherry (cherry is a characteristic pinot noir flavor), crisp green apple; rose petals/tea roses; toasted almonds”.
One taster noted the “very small bubbles”, another the “delicate effervescence”, and yet another the “super-fine bubbles”. You get the picture.
Another said: “Delicious”. I agree. In fact, it might have been me who said that.