Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard2004 SP - Blanc de Blanc Brut, Estate
What a great use of Chardonnay! Picked early and barrel-fermented, it is dry and piquant with high-toned scents of apple and pear. Whistle clean, crisp and delightful. Kluge produces four sparkling wines, an excellent Brut Rosé ($27) and Blanc de Noir ($44), both 100% Pinot Noir, the still wine aged three years in oak before second fermentation, and a Brut Reserve ($48), again, 100% Chardonnay.
All of these sparklers surprised me with their stylish elegance — very French-like in their purity and dry zest. Meticulously made by the traditional mèthode champenoise, they are certainly among the best sparkling wines made in the U.S. Chardonnay is widely grown in the mid-Atlantic (Maryland, Virginia, NC, Georgia), but Pinot Noir very little — it’s too humid and not cool enough. Picked early, however, it retains good acidity and adds great length to the Brut Rosé and Blanc de Noir. Both exhibit more complexity than the Blanc de Blancs
Patricia Kluge, who owns a large estate on Carter Mountain — in the very shadow of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello — planted vines in 1999. With a team of wine consultants that include Michel Rolland and Laurent Champs, Kluge has become one of the top wine estates in Virginia and the Monticello appellation that surrounds Charlottesville. Kluge also produces Viognier and two Bordeaux blends ( each comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc).
Reviewed November 24, 2008 by Barbara Ensrud.
Barbara Ensrud has been writing about and reviewing wines since 1979, with a nationally syndicated column for the New York Daily News and numerous other publications. Her “no numbers” approach to evaluating wine is simple: how does it taste – on its own, as well as with particular foods? Is it good value, whether $10 or $210? Does it measure up in terms of varietal character and regional identity? …"When I taste a good wine, I can't wait to share it with fellow wine lovers."