BrangerSparklern.v. Sebastien Branger, Eclipse, Brut Sparkling Melon, Muscadet, Loire Valley, France.
Along with his father, Sebastien makes a few hundred cases of this glorious bubbly, all handcrafted method traditionnelle from his tiny 1.5 acres of vines in Muscadet, these older plantings from 1964 and some from 1985 offer brisk intensity and plenty of briny sea flavors that come through in this sparkling Melon. The Loire is the Prosecco, this is the hot spot for quality and value in Champagne style sparkling wines these days, and while Branger’s Eclipse is not cheap at $20, it is certainly a superb offering that rivals many $60 Champagnes, this is great stuff. The Eclipse is a very dry Brut, 12% alcohol, was bottled April 11, 2013 then disgorged on July 7, 2014, after spending some good time on the lees, and the classic terroir of clay and gneiss shines through with excellent mineral and salty flavors, perfect with oysters. The Eclipse shows vibrant citrus, green apple and chalky gravelly notes with a core of lemon/lime and melon along with steely mineral, hazelnut, bread dough/yeast with a fine mousse and an energy filled flow throughout. This vivid and unique sparkling Muscadet should age beautiful as well, a good 10 to 15 years, but it does give loads of pleasure and elegant detail now, drink from 2015 to 2025.
($20 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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