Côte Orelia Blanc de Noirs

Review by Eric Tansey, CSW, Sommelier    

The color of the Côte Orelia Blanc de Noirs is as fascinating as its taste. The wine offers a light peach (yes, peach!) colored base, with bright white bubbles laid across it. Absolutely stunning color. (For a quick pic of the color, click here.)

Aromas of pear, red apple, and almonds lift from the glass. Easily identifiable aromas that will keep the table talking about the wine. As the Orelia opens up, you can detect subtle white bread aromas, which are especially delectable when served in a white wine glass versus a flute.

On the palate, the Côte Orelia Blanc de Noirs is as exciting as the color and the aromas. The pear and almonds jump right out at you on the front of the palate as the bubbles tickle the roof of your mouth. The finish lingers with tart red apple and bright acidity, and if you pay very close attention, you can find that white bread on your breath as well.

A stunning bottle of sparkling wine that delivers the total package. Its beautiful color, elegant aromas, popping taste, and phenomenal price point land this wine in the Tansey’s Golden Jug category . I never would have guessed that this wine was so inexpensive. Perfect sparkling wine for any celebration.

Tansey’s Blind Rating – 92 points 

Tansey’s Golden Jug Award 

The Break Down

Dryness level

Selection – Côte Orelia 

Region – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Vintage – None

Varietal – “Blanc de Noirs” refers to white wine made from red grapes–typically, Pinot Noir is the key varietal . 

Oak – No oak 

Style – Sparkling wine, cannot be called Champagne because it is not from the Champagne region of France

Method – Methode Champenois 

Alcohol – 12.5%

Food Pairings – Any celebration, Baked or grilled seafood, stuffed clams, chicken, salad

My Second Take on the Côte Orelia Blanc de Noirs

After the revealing of this wine, I was proud to have given it 92 points. After seeing the bottle, I learned that this wine was from the Lidl Grocery store. Wines from stores like Lidl and Aldi (a direct competitor) often bring HUGE value. The wines at these stores are often exclusive labels made from more well known brands. You would never know this, or know what brands, unless you really did your homework. Lucky for you, I have done the homework for both of us.

The wine comes from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Yes, you read that correctly. This region is actually very well known for its award winning sparkling wines. Gruet is a sparkling wine from this region that continually makes the Wine Spectator Top 100 list each year…and I suspect that the Côte Orelia Blanc de Noirs is directly related to Gruet.

Gruet is owned by Precept Brands.  The Côte Orelia Blanc de Noirs is also owned by this brand. I cannot find any website or any other information regarding this wine, but the bottle indicates it was bottled and produced by Côte Orelia Cellars in Albuquerque New Mexico. As Gruet makes highly rated sparkling wines from this very small region, the label is owned by the same company as Gruet, and there is absolutely no other information on the inter web for Côte Orelia Cellars, I would say that it is probable that the juice in this bottle is somehow related to Gruet.

What is Méthode Champenoise ?

Méthode Champenoise, or traditional method, or Metodo Tradicional, is the traditional and original way of making sparkling wine. First, the grapes are turned into a typical white wine. Then the bubbles are made by bottling the white wine and then adding a mixture of sugar and yeast, called the tirage, to the bottle. The bottle is then capped.

The tirage starts a second fermentation inside the bottle, creating carbon dioxide. The CO2 becomes bubbles, YAY! But now there is all this dead yeast, aka lees, floating inside the bottle. We now have to get rid of the lees. This is done by riddling the bottles. Riddling is a process by which the bottles are placed into a large rack where they are either mechanically or manually turned slowly, over the course of several months, until the dead yeast cells are gathered in the neck of the bottle.

The neck of the bottle is then hit with a freezing blast that freezes the gunk in the neck into a solid block. The cap is then removed and the CO2 does the rest. The carbonation shoots the solid ice out like a rocket ship. This is called disgorging. The finished wine is then topped off with a little dosage, or sugar, to soften it up a bit and a little of the white wine is added back to the bottle to bring the volume back up. This little bit of added wine is called the liqueur d’expedition. You now have a bottle of sparkling wine made using the traditional method. Cheers! Eric Tansey, CSW, Sommelier