1996 Duck Pond Cellars XX Blanc de Noir Brut Willamette Valley

“A forgotten cache...”

1996 Duck Pond Cellars XX Blanc de Noir Brut Willamette Valley

In mid-2016, Duck Pond winemaker Trevor Chanda stumbled upon some dusty boxes in a corner of the cellar. The forgotten cache turned out to be a sparkling blanc de noirs vinified in 1996. And so—why not?—his team disgorged about 160 cases, topped it with a modest 3 g/L of sugar, and sent it out into the world.

The wine’s pale amber body is animated by a persistent diffuse bead, and its bubbles pop in bursts of toast and nut. But the toasty note is curiously more like roasted seed or grass than the savory hazelnut typical of an older vintage sparkler. It’s somewhat reductive, too (it was, after all, en tirage for nearly twenty years).

These qualities continue seamlessly to the body, with its sharp edge of toasted bamboo and a drift of grassy reed, almost chive-tinged. The texture is fine and creamy, conveying little fruit but recapitulating the theme of brittle grass. A pleasing bitterness and a snap of fresh turmeric and ginger flare at the finish.

It needs a little air to open up, which is a tough sell for sparkling. It would, however, be right at home with sushi.

12.5% abv | $58 (sample)

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