2009 Syncline Scintillation Blanc de Blanc
Last edited on 6/28/2012 by ob2s
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Since 2005, James Mantone has been working with Rick Ensminger of Celilo Vineyard on a sparkling wine project. It makes sense. Celilo is perhaps the finest cool-climate vineyard in Washington, sitting on the southern flanks of the extinct volcano Underwood Mountain (location here) in the Columbia Gorge AVA. And better yet, both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are planted in Celilo.
For years, though, these were micro-production wines that were sold exclusively to Syncline’s wine club members (well, and to the occasional nagging retailer who visits the Gorge and begs and pleads to taste single-vineyard Celilo sparkling wine and makes James promise to let said retailer offer the wine if he ever releases it commercially).
Finally, with the 2009 vintage, there is enough for a commercial release. But only just enough: 200 cases total production, and much of it still snapped up by the lucky-grubby mitts of the Syncline wine club. We’re catching it just upon release, so allocation limits will be decent, but I can’t speak for reorder availability and would guess this won’t be around for long.
This is a Blanc de Blancs, a 100% Chardonnay, and it smells like it (and a lot like BdB Champagne), all lemony and leesy. All that lees contact imparts the bready, biscuity aromatics that those of us who love Champagne hold so dear. The palate has a fine mousse, and there is wonderful length and intensity here. This is a fine opportunity to taste a collaboration between a vineyard manager and a winemaker deeply committed to making as fine a sparkling wine as Celilo’s terroir will allow.