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The Domaine Ste Michelle NV Brut 2020 is a non-vintage Champagne-style Sparkling wine from Chateau Ste Michelle in the Columbia Valley of Washington. This is a value-priced Bubbly, it lists for $13 and I found it for $8.99 on sale.
Even though it is a reasonably priced Sparkling wine it is produced in the same production style as Champagne (Cava too) which is a rather involved winemaking technique.
Sparkling wine in the ten dollar price range is often made in the Prosecco-style (Charmat Method) which is a modern and more economical way of getting bubbles into wine.
With Bubbly at an affordable price, I am not overly concerned about how the bubbles got there. As long the Bubbly is an enjoyable drinking experience I am happy, but I always give a producer extra points for using the more expensive Traditional Method (Champagne). Going the extra mile and still offering an affordable Sparkling wine is commendable.
The Domaine Ste Michelle NV Brut 2020 uses a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, along with possibly other varietals, the tech notes are kind of vague.
The various lots of grapes of different vintages are fermented separately and then blended together before the second fermentation. One thing mentioned in the Domaine Ste Michelle NV Brut 2020 technical notes is that the first fermentation lasts for two to three weeks.
Traditional Method Bubbly almost always talks about the length of its second fermentation, in Champagne the minimum time in the bottle is 18 months, with many wines going months and even years beyond that.
The Domaine Ste Michelle NV Brut 2020 does not say a word about the length of 2nd fermentation. At first, I thought that was odd, but once I thought about it made a bit of sense.
With Bubbly, the winemaker uses their tricks to create a “House Style” to make the Bubbly their own identifiable Bubbly during the first fermentation. With the 2nd fermentation yeast, sugar and time do their thing, you simply have to wait. It is the first fermentation where the Bubbly gets its style.
This is a Brut Sparkling wine which means it is not a sweet wine. The technical notes are not fussy, for pairing they suggest popcorn, crackers, or chips. Most marketing notes for Bubbly have you drinking it at black-tie events or on a yacht. I think Domaine Ste Michelle is the more accurate pairing for most folks.
The alcohol content is a relatively mild 11.5%, the Domaine Ste Michelle may be a good wine to break out when you have guests who need to drive home.
Domaine Ste Michelle NV Brut 2020 Tasting Notes
The color is a wheat yellow with a hint of gold. The bubbles are plentiful and energetic. The nose is ripe apple, lemons and limes, hard citrus candy, cherry, a little spice, and just a little bit of yeasty bread.
This is a tasty Bubbly, it is smooth, but has a nice edge. It starts with a mix of lemon and green apple, then a little unsweetened tart cherry. The mid-palate adds a salty sensation, grapefruit, a little guava, and stone fruit.
The acidity is the way I like it, plenty enough to give the Bubbly a backbone and let the flavors have space to unfold. But also enough to stimulate your palate a getting you ready for another sip.
- The Domaine Ste Michelle NV Brut 2020 is an unpretentious Bubbly that delivers the goods.
- This is a very drinkable Sparkling wine, it is dry (not sweet), but it has a nectar or fruity sweetness (not sugary) to it.
- This is everyday Bubbles that will do just fine on NewYears Eve or an important event.