If you fancy yourself a genuine wine pro, and are the kind of supercilious genuine wine pro who is too proud to learn new words from a genuine sloppy, slathering wino, I recommend that you skip this part, because I’m gonna guess that the following sentence contains at least one word you will have to Google:
Bugey-Cerdon in département Ain makes a mousseux using méthode ancestral containing poulsard, and it is absolutely scintatrific.
I tossed in the last word because I am the type of sloppy, slathering wino who hates to be wrong, so if you know all about Bugey-Cerdon, Ain, Méthode Ancestral and poulsard, I still wanted to give you something you had to look up.
Which, by the way, you won’t find.
Bugey-Cerdon: Cerdon is a commune within Bugey; it is renowned for its sparkling rosé and, oddly, a copper mine which produces product of the same color.
Ain: Named after the Ain River on the eastern edge of France bordered by the rivers Saône and Rhône, Ain has a culinary reputation unrivaled in France. Beside the wines of Bugey, Ain is home to Bresse and the famous volaille de Bresse, the ne plus ultra of chickens: With a red crown, white feathers and blue feet, it is said to mimic the color of the French flag. Which is not to lessen the fame and gustatory impact of the bleu cheeses of Gex and Grièges nor the sturgeons of the Dombes.
Mousseux: A French term used to describe sparkling wines made from methods other than the méthode champenoise. Not to be confused with crémant, which can only be used for wines that have been made using the méthode champenoise, but outside the designated area called Champagne.
Méthode Ancestral: The method inspired this whole column—Randall Grahm’s Bonny Doon Querry, 2011—pear, apple and quince juice sparklefied—is listed as having been produced in the same, interesting way as Bugey-Cerdon. In the case of the latter, the grapes macerate for several hours prior to pressing; this is known as pelliculaire and insures optimum color and aromatic extraction. The wine is racked, then fermented in chilled vats—halted by filtration when the must reaches 6.5% alcohol. The wine is bottled, and stored at around 50 °F until a re-fermentation within the bottle forms carbon dioxide bubbles and raises the alcohol to 8%. The process of dégorgement, so indispensible to méthode champenoise where the crown cap and lees are removed and various amounts of sugar added to kick start the bubbles, is not used at all; this can result in a slightly cloudy end product.
Poulsard: A vinifera grape used in Bugey, typically grown in the region’s shale marl, limestone and clay soils. It is classified as a red wine grape, but contains so few color phenols that wines made from it are very pale and resemble vin gris. It is often blended with gamay in Bugey-Cerdon.
Scintatrific: Beware the Jabberwock, my son; the mome raths outgrabe.