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by Fred McMillin
Halloween, October 31, 2000
Dawnine Dyer made today's wine.
London wine merchants were about to start toying with sparkling wine production (before Dom Perignon). They were successful in a few decades.
The English would not have had those first sparkling wines to enjoy, if there had not been thick-walled Digby bottles to withstand the pressure. (Of course, cork stoppers had to appear, too, but that's another story.) Consequently, a sparkler must be...
The Wine—Chandon Reserve Brut Cuvée 494 Sparkler
Composition—Classic blend primarily of two parts Pinot Noir with one part Chardonnay. The grapes come from three of the best Napa areas, Carneros, Yountville and Mt. Veeder.
Aging—4 years on the yeast.
Rating—My panel found it very elegant, and gave it a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. For any party, you need not buy anything pricier.
Winemaker—Dawnine Dyer (photo) took the best lots of the 1994 vintage (hence, Cuvée 494) to blend today's wine. The '94 was her 19th Chandon vintage.
Back to Britain—When Sir Digby was making those first stronger bottles in Britain, what was France's Champagne district making? Wine with no bubbles, and mostly red, not white!
About the Writer
Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers. For information about the wine courses he teaches every month at either San Francisco State University or San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.
This page created October 2000