Daosa Blanc de Blancs 09 (Piccadilly Valley, Adelaide Hills, SA)
12.2%, Composite cork, $51
Strictly speaking, this sparkling is Xavier Bizot and Lucy Croser’s (of Terre à Terre) baby, the fruit drawn from a vineyard that Christian Bizot (head of Champagne Bollinger) himself helped plant.
Considering, however, that said fruit has traditionally made its way into the Petaluma Croser sparkling, and indeed elements of the packaging take cues from Petaluma’s bubbly (which is subtle, but telling), there is no question that this carries the thumbprint of Brian Croser himself.
|That ‘Piccadilly Valley’ font and style is very Croser…|
More correctly, this is everything that Croser (the sparkling) ain’t, a wine that you could imagine Brian Croser making if he still had the reins at Petaluma. That may sound like a cheeky snipe, yet I’m afraid that the latest Petaluma Croser releases haven’t impressed me all that much. In some ways that is like comparing oranges with apples – particularly as the Croser sparkling is a lean, multi vineyard Pinot Chardonnay whilst this is a lightly worked, single vineyard, blanc de blanc – but the comparison is a valid one (the price is not dissimilar either).
What sets this wine apart from the Petaluma Croser is the detail. Produced from the Daosa vineyard (planted in 1996) off just two clones planted in the higher part of the vineyard, the grapes are hand picked and very softly (less than 450L per tonne) whole bunch pressed into older oak where it completes alcohol and malolactic fermentation. The wine then spends 8 months in these older barrels before sparkling fermentation, then resting for another 30 months on lees.
Given such a ‘full’ treatment, there is little surprise perhaps in just how vinous this is. I gave a glass to my Mum actually (who is a great barometer and gives a quite different perspective) who said ‘it’s too winey’ for me. It’s not too winey for me, no doubting however how different it is to most ‘traditional’ sparkling wine (and indeed big house NV Champagne) – it is more like a white wine with bubbles or a citrussy grower Champagne than a more classical sparkling.
That vinosity is impressive though, the wine showing an intriguing, slightly wild double cream yeast character on the nose with some white peach fruit in there too. Palate wise it is a fraction lean and youthful, all citrus fruit and firm acidity, everything fleshed out thanks to that oak maturation. Initially it seems a little simple and too young, yet it still has great length and textural weight underneath the quality of the fruit and length ensuring that I finished more than one glass.
I’m ultimately marking this highish as I think it is great stuff, carrying more personality and drinking appeal than many equivalent Australian sparklings. Personally, all I’d like to see is an extra year or too of bottle (and yeast) age to make it into a real star. Yes!
Drink: 2013 – 2017
Score: 18/20 93/100+
Would I buy it? In a restaurant yes definitely.
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Excellent review Andrew of an intriguing wine. Well done!