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White Sparkler, Red Grapes
In the 17th century, Benedictine monk Dom Pierre Perignon made what would become the world's first outstanding sparkling wine. It was a blanc de noirs, a white bubbly made from red grapes (Pinot Noir).
...By Mansson and Loos in the Wine Spectator
So, what's a blanc de noirs? The pigment in a red wine grape is located in the skin. The juice is colorless. When the grape is crushed, the juice immediately starts to extract color from the skins, becoming light pink in a few hours. Consequently, to make a blanc de noirs ("white from black"), the skins and juice are separated quickly. Nevertheless, the sparkler usually will have a salmon or pink-bronze hue.
The more conventional blend includes a good portion of tart Chardonnay. Thus, the charm of blanc de noir is the increased cherry-like flavors from the Pinot (and sometimes from another red wine grape, the Pinot Meunier). If you want to try it, here's a good, affordable one.
Mumm Cuvee Napa Blanc de Noirs, Non-Vintage
Mumm Napa is a joint venture of Seagram Ltd. And G.H. Mumm of Reims, France. The latter brings a lot of sparkling knowledge to the table, being founded in 1827. Their famous Cordon Rouge ("red ribbon") label was introduced in 1875. It was the trendy wine of Parisian artistic circles in the 1920's. You'll find a smaller version of the ribbon on your Mumm Napa bottle.
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