edited by Sue Courtney
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Central Otago, New Zealand
Take the passion of Rudi Bauer and the sparkling winemaking skills and the generations of Champagne makers' blood that pumps through the veins of Clotilde Chauvet and this stunning wine, the Quartz Reef Chauvet Vintage 1998, is the result.
It's a rich creamy wine, a wine of finesse and balance. Lemon gold in colour, the fine bubbly mousse bursts in the mouth and coats every nook and cranny with its creamy texture and deliciously rich, nutty, leesy, earthy citrus flavours. It's soft and sophisticated and lingers with the sweetness of nougat and the yeastiness of brioche with just a hint of spice. A wine of exquisite balance that's wickedly heady and so totally moreish, it's possibly the best bubbly ever to come out of NZ. I'm obviously impressed!
This is the first 'vintage release' from Quartz Reef's Central Otago vineyards with the grapes for this specific wine coming from Rafters Road in the Gibbston Valley. The grapes were harvested in April 1998, fermented and blended for the base cuvée. Ten months later the wine went 'en tirage', that is the wine was bottled with the addition of sugar and yeast for the secondary fermentation process to take place. Just over another 3 and a half years later, in September 2002, the wine was 'disgorged', that is the spent yeast lees from the secondary fermentation in the bottle, were removed. Now it's finally been released and it's certainly been worth the wait.
There are a few relationships with New Zealand wine companies and Champagne Houses - take Montana Wines and Deutz or Cloudy Bay and Veuve Cliquot. Now there's tiny Quartz Reef and the House of Marc Chauvet from Rilly la Montagne in Champagne.
Clotilde, whose family owns Marc Chauvet, can trace her viticultural ancestors back to 1529. She spends time in New Zealand and time in Champagne, creating the fine wines that carry her family's name.
Quartz Reef Chauvet Vintage 1998 will be available from selected retailers at approximately NZ$42 a bottle. Or buy it from the cellar door in the Cromwell or on mail order from the winery for just NZ$37.
© Sue Courtney
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