Touraine Sparkling Rosé NV, Charles Bove

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From the chalky limestone soils of the Touraine region of the Loire Valley, this blend of 80% Cabernet Franc and 20% Gamay Noir rests on its lees in Bove’s chalk caves for 18 months before being disgorged. It combines fine aromatics and acidity from the Cabernet Franc with freshness and fruit from the Gamay. Fresh, dry, and very pleasing with lovely, broad red fruit and a soft mousse. A mouthful of rosé at a great price.

About the Winery

The firm of Charles Bove began life in the 19th century in Montrichard, in the Loire Valley. Its base of operations was, and is, an enormous rock quarry, abandoned after it had been quarried for building the Loire Chateaux (Chenonceau is just minutes away). This old quarry is composed of over 9 miles of underground cellars on three levels, with an all but steady year-round temperature of 53 degrees Fahrenheit. The humidity inside is ideal for making and storing wines, and these days the firm keeps an average of two million bottles of sparkling wine undergoing aging at any given time. Below, at the lower entrance to the cellars, stands guard a sculpture know among the workers as The Gatekeeper.

The company specializes in sparkling wines, buying grape must or juice direct from surrounding domains. This must is vinified, blended, and bottled at Bove. The intrinsic qualities of the different wines are optimized by blending them together in one single vat. Reserve stocks allow them to offset variable weather conditions. At the end of the bottling operation, during which the wine is topped up with liqueur de tirage, the bottles, capped with metal temporary caps, are stored in the chalk cellars. They are “laid” on “lathes”, that is to say stored horizontally, with each layer separated from the previous one by a thin wooden lathe. Over a period of about 4 months, a second fermentation occurs.

Bove also maintains an extensive portfolio of still wines, the most interesting among which may well be the small range of varietals labeled under the Au Coeur des Terroirs label. These are delicious, well-priced introductions to the fresh and elegant wines the Loire does so well.