Discovering Comte de Ferrand, Blanc de Blancs, French Sparkling Wine

Comte de Ferrand Blanc de Blancs French sparkling wine is a great find for us at Bordeaux Undiscovered. It’s made by the Société des Vins Mousseux which is part of one of the great negotiant houses of Bordeaux Grands Vins de Gironde (GVG).

It was founded in 1820 by Baron Alfred de Luze, Grand Duke of Hessen.

The Baron came from a noble family in Saintonge (in the département Charente Maritime, just north of Bordeaux, which is famous for its production of Cognac and Pineau des Charentes). He settled in Bordeaux and became a pioneer in developing imports and exports of Bordeaux wines.

His negotiant house expanded over the years and purchased several chateaux (including Chateaux Paveil de Luze in Margaux and Chateau Mallaret in Haut Medoc).

Today, based in the Domaine de Ribet at Saint Loubes, the Société des Vins Mousseux (SVM) is one of the leading companies exclusively producing quality sparkling wines.

In 2011 GVG and SVM were purchased by Borie Manoux, chaired by Philippe Casteja, whose family own several prestigious chateaux including Chateau Trotte Vielle (Premier Grand Cru Classé Saint Emilion) and Chateau Batailley (5th Growth Pauillac).

Comte de Ferrand is made by the Méthode Cuvée Close or Charmat Method (Méthode Charmat) which was developed by the French scientist Jean Eugene Charmat at the University of Montpellier in 1907.

Instead of using individual bottles to produce the secondary fermentation, he invented the glass-lined tank.

His son continued his work and created the wine Veuve de Vernay, named after the widow (Veuve) from Vernay, who helped his father start up in business. The Société des Vins Mousseux was founded in 1908, a year after the Charmat Method was developed.

Made from Ugni Blanc grapes – also known as Trebbiano in Italy – Comte de Ferrand is a Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine (which means literally ‘white [wine] from white [grapes]‘).

It’s thought that Ugni Blanc was brought to France in the 1300s when successive Popes resided at Avignon rather than in Rome. Ugni Blanc’s name comes from the old French Occitan ‘Unia’ which is derived from the Latin name ‘Eugenia’ (meaning ‘noble’ or ‘well born’) but it has lots of synonyms in Bordeaux – ‘Saint Emilion’ being one of them.

Comte de Ferrand (£8.99, abv 11%) is fresh and clean with nicely balanced acidity and no sharp edges. In the mouth it’s bursting with soft fresh fruits with a good mousse.

With delicate floral aromas of magnolia and jasmine and flavours of white peach, quince and very subtle hints of mandarin orange and apricot, this really is a charming wine. It’s the perfect fizz for a party with your guests thinking it is Champagne; ideal for a refreshing glass of bubbly and a perfect partner for a variety of meals including spicy dishes such as Indian and Thai.

It will compliment fish, seafood, salads and delicate white meat recipes. I am sure you will not be disappointed. This lovely wine I believe knocks spots off similar level wines at this unbelievable price.

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