Staff Selections • Keri Brown
Spring Pick 2023
Alain Robert Troglodyte Sparkling Vouvray
(Loire Valley, France)
I don’t know about you all, but it’s been a realllllllly long few months. I’m more than ready to welcome a happier, brighter, warmer season. What better way to celebrate the sunshine than to revisit this favorite sparkler? The Alain Robert & Fils winery is located in the French village of Chancay, in the Vouvray appellation area, which is in the heart of the Loire Valley, and the home to the majority of my favorite crispy white wines. The Chenin Blanc grapes are grown on clay and limestone and clay and flint soils, giving the wine a very slight mineral tasting note. They named the wine after little birds that nest near their limestone cellars. The troglodytes enliven the Loire Valley courtyards with their “twittering,” and the adorable little birds sure make for a great label (and I’m such a sucker for a cute label). This sparkler is made in the traditional method: the base wine is put into bottles with small amounts of yeast and sugar, then tightly sealed and stored in a cool cellar. The wine ages for 12 to 24 months and during that time, the yeast ferments the sugar, creating a bit more alcohol and carbon dioxide, which gives us a burst of tiny, sophisticated bubbles. Right off the pop, you get an explosion of white fruit and light floral aromas on the nose with notes of flowers, apple, pear, and toast on the palate. The finish is fresh and elegant, almost insisting you take another sip. The winemaker suggests this to be “a wine to drink as an aperitif, to celebrate unforgettable moments, until the end of the night.” I suggest you open it (carefully) and enjoy it as you sit on the patio, porch, pontoon, or parlor.