Richard Grant now produces these three fine wines from the Wrotham clone of Pinot Noir.
Chaine des Rotisseurs Party in Monterey
A Memorable Napa Evening in April
Photo by Chef Holly
Photo by Chef Holly
2004 Vintage Sparkling Wine
What's the 2004 Richard Grant like? I find it slightly more 'full bodied' than either the 2000 or the very fine 2001. The color's a little darker too, but my wife Sandra loves that subtle shade of 'peachy pink' and I'm not stupid. That color is vividly remembered by Sparkling Wine enthusiasts who were lucky enough to get the 2001. Only a month after release of the 2004, I've already heard from more than a dozen Sparkling Wine lovers who think our 2004 is the best vintage yet! That's high praise, folks -- both the 2000 and 2001 received Double Gold Medals in competitive (blind) judgings.The flavor fades in and out between 'Kiwi,' 'Granny Smith Apples,' Citrus' and 'Strawberries,' with 'Pink Grapefruit' noticed most often. Some tasters recognize a hint of 'Cranberries' in the aftertaste but I haven't seen that very often. One thing does stand out in the 2004: this is the first vintage in which we notice just a subtle hint of that Cardamom-like spiciness that stands out so beautifully in both the 2006 and 2007 red wines. Wine writers seldom evaluate individual vintages of sparkling wines so we have little possibility to know how Champagne judges rank the various vintages of these wines. For one thing, not many Champagnes or Sparkling Wines are vintage-dated. Most are blends of several vintages rather than single-year wines. For what it's worth, writers ranked most 2001 red wines higher than the comparable 2000 reds -- at first, that is. Later, most changed their minds and they now give the 2000 vintage red wines similar rankings to the 2001 red wines. If it's possible to extrapolate from red table wines to Blanc de Noir sparkling wines, both are now ranked among the best vintages overall. My personal opinion is that the two vintages were different for red wines but there are more similarities than differences in sparkling wines. The biggest difference between the 2000 and 2001 R.G. Wrotham Pinot Sparkling Wines seemed to be (for my taste) the added softness given to the 2000 Richard Grant Sparkling wine by its one year senority. Interesting thing: 2004 was considered a great year for many red table wines. Sure enough, our 2004 R.G. Sparkling wine is getting more rave reviews than we got for either the 2000 or 2001 Sparklers at this early stage.
We made a total of only 527 cases in 2004 and September starts the sparkling wine holiday season. These wines are unmatched for quality, they will age well, and every bottle is absolutely guaranteed against cork taint and loss of pressure before opening. Most of my annual sparkling sales happen between September and February, so now is the time to stock up. The price is right (see below).
Time on the yeast in fine Sparkling wines and Champagnes is a winemaking decision and it is a judgment call on the part of the winemaker. The idea is to allow enough contact time on the yeast to extract the level of flavor components that will exactly harmonize with the natural grape varietal flavor and body of the wine. During winemaking, it seemed to my taste that four years was optimal for absolute quality in R.G. Sparkling Wines.
A Special Note about Vintage PricingCurrent vintage of R.G. Wrotham Pinot Sparkling Wine (2004) is sold at $40 per 750, with a 5% discount for 6 bottles and 10% off for an order of 12. We're sold out of the 2000 and 2001 vintages. All Richard Grant wines are fully guaranteed against cork taint and loss of pressure, of course. I would expect the 2004 to retain its high quality for at least another few years, probably until 2015. Experimentation is part of the fun with a new variety, especially watching how it ages over time. Wrotham is unusual in that it is quite delicate to sip and enjoy, yet tough in its ability to hold up under varied conditions of storage.
The 2001 won one of only six 'Double Gold' Medals (out of 1800 entries) awarded by the National Womens Wine Competition last year and the 2000 won 'Double Gold' in a different competition. The 2004 is certain to win as well, if I decide to enter. But, at current sales rates, I may not enter this vintage in judgings at all. No point in running out of stock too soon.