I don’t often write about sparkling wines because I feel like they live in a world all their own. But when I popped the cork on this J Cuvée 20 Brut, I seemed to have entered the realm in which they live. Beautifully light and refreshing, yet profoundly complex and structured. A sip of this sparkle simultaneously released me and engaged me. Cheers to that.

About the Wine: The J Cuvee 20 Brut is a non-vintage (NV) cuvée, or blend, made from 50% Chardonnay, 49% Pinot Noir, 1% Pinot Meunier harvested from the Russian River Valley AVA in Sonoma County.

*J Vineyards & Winery makes all their sparkling wine in the methode traditionelle. Read more about the traditional method of making sparkling wine: Pop the Cork on Sparkling Wine.)*

All grapes were hand harvested and placed whole cluster, with stem inclusion, into the winery’s special Coquard presses for gentle pressing. Juices from each vineyard lot were fermented and kept separate until the final blending. Post-blending, the cuvée was cold-stabilized and then bottled.

Secondary fermentation occurred in the bottle, aging for about three years in the cellar. After aging, the bottles were riddled to remove yeast sediment. The bottles were then disgorged, undergoing minimal dosage before aging under cork for an additional six months before release.

12.5% ABV

Flavor Profile: Pop the cork, pour the subtle sunlight liquid into the champagne flute, and breathe in all the beautiful, and immediately complex, aromas of crisp apples, yeast, lychee, and rambutan. On the palate this sparkling wine is simultaneously dry and juicy, soft and sour, light but full of flavor, and oh so crisp. Dominant flavors are of white nectarines, green grapes, underripe mango, pineapple, and the nutty-sweet nature of a slice of fresh brioche.

Food Pairing: Well, I paired the J Cuvée 20 Brut with an early evening on the back patio. (AKA: as an aperitif) But I tell you this sparkling wine has a body and structure strong enough to pair with food. The winery suggests an ahi tuna tartare, chilled pea soup, or Dungeness crab with persimmon and pomelo salad.

More Info: I received the J Cuvee Brut NV as a sample for review. (Cheers Nicole!) Price: $38. For more information and to purchase wines directly, please visit the J Vineyard and Winery website.

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