Editor’s note: As 2014 drew to a close, I reflected on my favorite wines of the year. First read my introduction (which also contains the list of wines), then follow along as I publish notes on ten wines that taught me something new. Here’s Number Three:
NV Ferrari Brut Metodo Classico Trentodoc
12.5% abv | $20
In 2013, I was a guest of the Ferrari winery in Trento, Italy, and tasted their entire line from humble Brut to tête de cuvée. (Find a report on my visit and notes on many of their wines here.)
Ferrari crafts even their non-vintage Brut with exceptional care, using 100 percent Chardonnay grown high in Trentino vineyards, then letting it spend two years on lees prior to disgorgement. A few months after my visit to Trentino, I stumbled upon a bottle of Ferrari Brut at a local wine shop. I snatched it up, eager to let my husband in on its deliciousness.
As expected, the wine crackled with acidity and green fruits and lime, but I was amazed by its extraordinary multi-dimensionality. Its normal savoriness from 24 months en tirage was amplified and deepened, complemented by flavors of biscuit and nut and a gorgeous creamy texture.
I turned the bottle around: “Sboccatura anno 2009.” It had been disgorged five years prior.
Non-vintage sparkling wines are generally not age-worthy. They’re not made to age; they’re meant to be drunk young and enjoyed while the vintage wines mature. Yet despite having languished on a shop’s shelves for four years, with the fluorescent lights blazing and central heating grinding away, Ferrari’s humble Brut was magnificent.
And twenty dollars! I hurried back and bought the shop’s remaining three bottles. When they proved equally wonderful, I ordered two cases of Ferrari’s current nonvintage Brut to lay down, too. And while I’m not certain all of those bottles will survive for five years, I’m equally certain that’s a statement about my own forbearance, not the wine’s endurance.
The Lesson: Well-crafted non-vintage Brut can age beautifully.