The Rack & Riddle Blanc de Blanc (White from White, meaning White wine made from Chardonnay grapes) is a non vintage Bubbly sourced from contracted vineyards in California’s North Coast AVA. The North Coast AVA encompasses 6 counties and 47 AVA’s, including Napa Valley, Sonoma and Mendocino. Rack & Riddle is a custom Sparkling wine producer (this is their own line of Sparkling and still wines), they produce Bubbly for Trader Joe’s and others. Sparkling wine/Bubbly production is far more complicated than producing still wines. They can’t use just any grapes for Sparkling wine, the grapes must be picked at a certain time (depending with the Bubbly is to be dry or sweet) and the vines must be pruned in a certain way to produce optimal Bubbly grapes. This Blanc de Blanc is made in the Traditional Method (same as Champagne), which indicates the second fermentation occurs in each and every bottle (Prosecco and Spumante are tank fermented). They add a little yeast and a little sugar to each bottle and let the Bubbly ferment a 2nd time and age it in bottle for 9 months and often much longer. Then they have to get all the sticky, gunky sugar and yeast residue out of the bottles.Today, machines do most of the dirty work, but making Bubbly is a very specialized process. This Bubbly was aged in bottle for 9 months and the alcohol content is 12.5%.
The color is a pale butter yellow, with bubbles galore. The nose is citrus, apricots and pastry crust. It tastes of very distinct lemon/lime, grapefruit, a hint of peach and a dollop of butter. There is a good dose of acidity that tingles your tongue, but stays in balance. The finish is very, very long.
I must admit, I love the whole Bubbly experience, there are certain styles that I prefer, but I will take Bubbly pretty much anyway that I can get it. The Rack & Riddle Blanc de Blancs is a very solid Sparkling wine. Much of what passes for common knowledge about value priced Sparkling wine is more about marketing departments than taste and enjoyment. I would rather have 2 or 3 bottles of Cava, Prosecco, or California Sparkling wine for the same cash outlay as one bottle of entry level, non vintage Champagne. The party doesn’t last long on 1 bottle of Bubbly. And really why spend more money, Rack & Riddle makes some real good Bubbles at 1/2 the price of Champagne.