Well, darn. I was all excited to try a North Carolina sparkling wine, so I was a bit dismayed when I saw that all of the fruit from the Biltmore Estate Blanc de Blancs actually came from California’s Russian River Valley. I got over it, of course — RRV Chardonnay is hardly something to complain about — but I still would like to try more North Carolina wines. I get the feeling this wine is intended more to promote the Biltmore Estate brand and encourage tourism to the estate, particularly around the holidays.
When I opened the bottle, yeasty, bready aromas leapt right out and were even more pronounced in the glass. Sprightly stone fruits and lemon with a touch of honey, too, but the bread aromas dominate, especially at first.
I was surprised by the sweetness I tasted at first. This sparkling wine is supposed to be Brut-style, but it felt a bit off-dry to me. I tasted candied lemon, lime zest and white peach, with notes of honeysuckle and strawberry. (The residual sugar is listed at 1.4%.) The tasting notes suggest pairing this wine with a slightly spicy dish; I sampled some mild panang curry chicken with it and it was a nice combination.
This wine retails for $24.99. It’s pleasant and would serve as a nice holiday gift for someone who knows and loves the (admittedly impressive) Biltmore Estate or for a North Carolina native. While it’s a fairly well-made wine, I don’t know that it would stand up well to California competitors at similar price points. Consumers who know and love the Biltmore Estate brand will prefer it; those who don’t will not be swayed by the name (and probably won’t look closely enough to notice its California origins).
Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample.