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(The Bottle In Front Of Me is a series of somewhat regular, brief tasting notes from the Rogue Estate’s resident wine guy, Ian.) Fizzy Bizness I enjoy bubbly wines on occasion. That's the key word, "occasion". It's usually a wedding or a New Years Eve before I'll consider popping and pouring one. It's required if a good friend offers pricy caviar, but sadly that has only happened ONCE. So, on a whim, I decided to dip back into Michigan wines because we have a really good producer here. L. Mawby is recognized as one of the more skilled bubbly makers in the U.S. They focus ONLY on sparkling wines, fermented both methode champenoise (in the bottle) and cuve close (in the tank). The less expensive cuve close wines are marketed under the "M. Lawrence" name. Currently they produce 14 different wines, packed into only 8,000 cases a year. That speaks volumes about craftsmanship and dedication. Their Cremant Classic is definitely in a French style (think crisp Alsace), although made with 100% Vignoles grapes (no Pinots or Chards). And it's delicious. A note about notes: My method for note-taking failed me somewhat on sparklers, for two primary reasons. Swirling does not accentuate bubbly the way it does still wines. And savoring sparkling wine over the course of a few hours can actually degrade it's flavors. Serve very cold, and sip as quickly as is comfortable with friends. L. Mawby NV Brut Cremant Classic (About $23) Learn more about the winery: http://www.lmawby.com/ Learn more about the bottle in front of me: http://www.lmawby.com/index.php?route=/buy/wine&id=1 SEE: A rich gold with a light peach tint. Tiny beads form and disappear quickly. SWIRL: Resist the temptation. You'll make a mess. SMELL: Typically yeasty bread notes, but in this case coupled with exotic spice, slate, herbs and white fruit. SIP: To my mind this is much more fruit-forward than a true Brut. Strawberries, nectarines, white peach and Rainier cherries. This is balanced with a slight flinty minerality. SAVOR: A moderately long finish resolves to honey crisp apple and poppy seeds. Final impression: A beautiful cold sipper on its own. More approachable than most Champagnes in this price range. Pair with: Tends to dominate most flavors. Try with the classic pairings of buttered popcorn, fish roes, or shellfish. Might actually be a nice foil for Oysters Rockefeller or Clams Casino. Actually probably best in an ice bucket on a bedside table with that sexy someone.