Domaine de la Taille Aux Loups, Montlouis-sur-Loire Petillant Triple Zero NV
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100% Chenin Blanc. Launched in 1993 at the outset of Domaine de la Taille aux Loups, Triple Zero is one of Jacky Blot’s most striking creations. It is a Méthode Ancestrale, lightly sparkling wine that Jacky describes as “above all, a natural wine that happens to have some bubbles.” The story of how it is made is interesting, as it illustrates Blot’s dedication to quality and originality. In a way unusual for a sparkling wine, the Triple Zero begins with fully ripe Chenin Blanc grapes, from low-yielding, 50+ year old vines in the Montlouis appellation. There is no chaptalization; this is the first Zero.
The grapes are all harvested by hand. Any fruit insufficiently ripe (i.e., under 12 degrees natural sugar), or showing any sign of rot, is eliminated. The grapes are gently pressed in a pneumatic press and the two-stage fermentation begins slowly in 5 to 10 year old barriques, with only native yeasts. Blot bottles the wine after about 7 months, when the fermentation in barrel has proceeded to the point where the natural sugars have almost fully fermented, and only 12 grams of sugar remain per liter. It then finishes fermenting in bottle, without the addition of liqueur de tirage, or sugar syrup; this is the second Zero.
The delicate bubbles develop in these bottles while resting on their sides, or "sur lattes". After the fermentation is completed, the wine rests on its lees for 24 months. It is then clarified to remove the yeast deposit. The traditional procedure of gently shaking and tipping the bottles upside down (remuage) to move the yeast cells closer to the cork is done mechanically, in large crates called gyropalettes, which were invented and are widely used in Champagne. After about a week, when the sediment has collected entirely in the neck of bottle, the bottle cap is removed and the pressure blows out the sediment; this is called dégorgement, or, literally, de-necking. At this moment, the Triple Zero is topped up with a small amount of the wine itself. This is the third Zero, as no liqueur d’expédition is added.
The result is a naturally-made sparkling wine with unsurpassed elegance, purity and expression of fresh, soft citrus and pear flavors.