From: Savoie, France
Taste: 100% Gamay that is harvested by hand at optimum maturity, made in the méthode ancestrale as described in detail above. This is a lovely Cerdon de Bugey. It is during its first year that all its aromas are present in their most flattering and enjoyable forms, including strawberry, cherry, cream and a hint of spice. Honestly, this is much like a strawberry parfait in a glass. At about 40 grams/liter of residual sugar, the wine does have some perceptible sweetness; however, with the very delicate tannin of Gamay and the supporting acidity, it comes across as being less sweet than it actually is.
Pairing: Cerdon is absolutely delightful as an aperitif. Better yet, it can serve as a wonderful accompaniment to fruit-based desserts, beignets with powdered sugar, or chocolate-based sweets. Some savory wine pairings include serving this alongside charcuterie and Fromage boards, pâté baguettes, spicy chicken wings, sesame chicken, sweet and sour pork/tofu/chicken, and Vietnamese sausage (check out the recipe below) or Banh Xeo (Vietnamese pancake).
Nem Nuong (Vietnamese Sausage)
By Samin Nosrat
About. Many thanks to importer Charles Neal for the following information.
Trying to find the town of Boyeux-Saint-Jérôme is difficult. Trying to find one of the hamlets surrounding the town is even more difficult, especially when you try to do it at night while climbing narrow, snow-lined routes with no streetlights. When you go there for the second time, it is no easier. On that occasion there was a bit of light left in the February sky, and I figured if I simply asked someone in any of the hamlets where Domaine Rondeau was, they would easily direct me. The first problem was finding someone on the streets of any of the hamlets; the second was finding someone who knew the Rondeau name. I couldn't believe it! Tiny hamlets, Rondeau—one of the best Cerdon producers—how hard could it be to locate him? I asked several townfolk—kids even. Nobody knew who Rondeau was. After asking the sixth person, I was led to the lowest hamlet on the hillside where I finally found the humble Rondeau home/winery.
Marjorie and Bernard Rondeaux met in Bordeaux at university, where both were studying enology. Marjorie had grown up in Boyeux while Bernard, a native of the Loire, had grown up near Saumur. Marjorie's parents grew grapes, and produced small amounts of Cerdon, the eclectic local wine. Pink, sweet and with bubbles, it is indeed one of the more curious wines of France. After the Rondeaus were married, they moved to Marjorie's property and began working with her parents. Shortly afterward they rewrote the financial structure of the domaine and renamed it Domaine Bernard et Marjorie Rondeau. (In retrospect, the reason that I had such difficulty in finding the domaine in such a small place is because the older locals were unfamiliar with the Rondeau name — it certainly would have helped to know Marjorie's maiden name. In the backwoods of France, someone from 300 miles away may as well have come from Mars.)
Right away, the Rondeaus began investing in new equipment for the chai: temperature-controlled tanks, automated disgorgers, pressurized bottling machines, etc. All the equipment had been completely overhauled by the year 2002, and the new wines coming out of the domaine under Bernard et Marjorie Rondeau's name began delighting both consumers and journalists alike.
Pink, Bubbly Gamay
So Cerdon de Bugey is sparkling, but how does it differ from other sparkling wines? In short, Cerdon is relatively sweet and is always pink. Its white wine equivalents are perhaps Clairette de Die or Moscato d'Asti, and its red comparisons are perhaps Brachetto d'Acqui or Lambrusco. Cerdon, however, is normally made with either pure Gamay or a combination of Gamay and Poulsard grapes.
At Domaine Rondeau, the Cerdon is made in the méthode ancestrale with 100% Gamay that is harvested by hand at optimum maturity. The grapes are brought to the winery, where the juice is extracted with a pneumatic press and led into stainless steel tanks. It is briefly cooled and the temperature is allowed to rise. The yeasts carried on the skins interact with the sugar of the grapes and fermentation begins. When the alcohol has reached about 7%, the tanks are cooled and fermentation is blocked. The wine passes through a light filtration that eliminates the large sediment and some of the yeasts, but quite a bit of residual sugar remains. The wine is bottled, and bottles are stored vertically in metal cages. While the bottles are dormant, the yeast that has not been filtered out continues to interact with the sugar and create carbonic gas within the bottle. This is called the prise de mousse and, as in Champagne, will naturally cause the wine to have bubbles.
The wine gains some further complexity as it ages (for a few weeks anyway). It is then disgorged (as in Champagne, the yeast and sediment are ejected), a cork replaces the crown capsule, the label is attached and the wine is ready to be sold and appreciated. Cerdon de Bugey, like most rosé wine, is best consumed in its first year of release; it is not a wine that one lays down.
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