What I love about this sparkling wine is the memories it has granted me! This bottle was given to me as a present when I defended in graduate school from one of my co-workers. She was right about the wine - absolutely a treasure for the state of Virginia! I'll never forget that she left me with a note (as I was off to California at the time) stating... "Don't forget about Virginia wines." How can you forget with memories... I mean wines... like this?
(Picture from: http://www.tjwinery.com/)
The wine is made in a collaborative effort by Claude Thibaut and Manuel Janisson. Thibaut is a "French Champagne master," as previous articles have revealed. His biography can be seen on the website and within several of the reviews for the Blanc de Chardonnay.
This is a French style sparkling wine that truly captures the potential of Eastern winemaking. This wine exquisitely shows the finesse of Monticello Chardonnay grapes in a fine bubbly style. Although it's not the thriftiest of buys - it's a treasure - as I said earlier - and one that should be enjoyed for those monumental events (or for Labor Day picnics before all the beer drinkers show up!).
Entirely crisp, food friendly, and again, a very serious wine - this is the type of bubbles you serve at your reception dinner the night before the big day as a sincere thank you to all your friends and family for their continued support in your relationship. This is the type of wine for those moments when you need to reflect back on a big accomplishment; a reward for a job well done. To bring the point home - this wine was served for President Obama's first state dinner, at a Thomas Jefferson birthday party, and at several high end restaurants (Citronelle, Restaurant Eve, Proof and Equinox). Go ahead and serve this one day - you deserve it!
The D-2010 Scale! (I need to copyright this...)
Blanc de Chardonnay by Thibaut-Janisson
Appearance (10 points possible): straw yellow, lots of small, continuous bubbles - 10 points
Aroma/Bouquet (20 points possible): slight hints of pear, apple and citrus fruit with a break-like character. Aromas are subtle and light on the nose. - 16 points
Taste (10 points possible): bubbly/effervescent (it is sparkling), medium level of acidity, dry sparkling wine, complex in nature - quite elegant and layered, with medium body/mouthfeel especially for a sparkling wine. Hints of citrus, apple, and pear flavors linger in the finish with a bread/yeast character that exposes itself as one continues to drink the wine. - 8 points
Balance (5 points possible): harmonious sparkling wine; yeasty and slightly fruity for those that enjoy a French style Champagne - 5 points
Finish (5 points possible): The length of the finish lasts a little longer than 1 minute, but not deep enough to compare with exquisite reds. For the style, the breadlike/yeasty flavors that linger with bubbles is what makes this wine so unique. - 4 points
Add 50 points for attempt, packaging, closure, etc.
Total Points: 93
Overall Thought: According to the website, this wine has received a lot of recognition in the recent past: http://www.tjwinery.com/. I've never had the Fizz, but I have seen it in stores. I encourage you to reach outside the comfort zone and give Virginia Sparkling a much needed taste!
Food Pairings: I believe this bottle rocks on its own. At most, serve with bread and soft cheeses as hors d'oeuvres while people can remember the finesse of this wine.
Cost: Last time I saw this bottle, it was $38Splurge Factor (out of 4): 3 - a little bit more expensive than what I usually recommend, but I do have to recommend some good wines for your enjoyment. Besides, everyone deserves a little luxury every once and awhile!
Where to buy: There's a list of retailers on the website, so I've included them here for everyone's viewing pleasure:
Washington DC: Cleveland Park Liquor, Dean & DeLuca Inc., Georgetown Wine & Spirits, Potomac Wines & Spirits, Schneider's of Capitol Hill, The Wine Specialist
Maryland: Cork and Fork, Finewine.com
Virginia: Aldie Peddler, Daily Planet Wine & Gourmet, Fern Street Gourmet, Grape and Bean, Rick's Wine and Gourmet, Unwined, Winery Inc., Best Cellars, Curious Grape, Domasoteca, Grand Cru Wine Bar and Cafe, Screwtop Wine Bar and Cheese Shop, Vintage Cellar, Batesville Store, Feast!, Foods of All Nations, In Vino Veritas, Market Street Wineshops: Downtown, Market Street Wineshops: Uptown, Stoney's Grocery and Deli, Rio Hill Wine and Gourmet, Tastings Wine Shop, The Virginia Shop, Wine Warehouse, Wine Cheese and More, Great Valu, Greenwood Grocery, Chateau Du Reaux, Frenchman Corner, Red White and Bleu, kybecca, Virginia Wine Experience, Cork and Fork Wine and Gourmet Shop, Whole Foods Market Short Pump, Vintage Wines, Leesburg Vintner, Washington Street Purveyors, Magnolia Foods, Cecile's Fine Wine, Salamander Market, Basic Necessities, Wine Cabinet at North Point Village, Ellwood Thompson's Natural Market, Once Upon a Vine South, Wine Lovers, Wine Gourmet, Olde Virginia Gourmet and Gifts, Zin, Vienna Vintner, Iron Bridge Wine Co., Town Duck, The Cheese Shop, Squire's Everyday Gourmet