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5218 Lawton Avenue
Oakland, CA 94114


Oliver McCrum Wines has been importing small production Italian wine and distributing to fine retail and restaurant establishes throughout California since 1994. Over time, our portfolio of producers has steadily grown to over 45 producers from 15 different regions of Italy. We look for typical Italian wines with clarity and freshness, usually made from indigenous Italian grape varieties using clean, transparent winemaking techniques and no obvious use of oak. 

Brut Contadino: Classic Method Sparkling Fiano

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Brut Contadino: Classic Method Sparkling Fiano

Michele Boscia

I think the most interesting Italian sparkling wines are generally those that don't try to copy Champagne. This is my new favorite; Classic Method (aka Champagne Method) sparkling wine made with Fiano, one of Italy's most interesting white wine varieties. In my opinion the yeasty flavors that come from this winemaking method combine very well with the gunflint quality of Fiano. Plus, the wine is NOT disgorged*, which means you have to disgorge it yourself by, well, watch the video [insert link to video]. Make sure the wine is good and cold first, though; I didn't. Both delicious and very distinctive wine. Very limited.

Geek note: Ciro offered us this wine either undisgorged, with no SO2 added post fermentation, or disgorged, with SO2 added. As long as the wine still contains the yeast sediment from the secondary (sparkling) fermentation, it is protected from oxidation; once the yeast is removed by disgorgement, SO2 must be added to protect the wine. So although the Brut Contadino only contains about 6 ppm of total SO2, nowhere near enough to protect it normally, it is fresh as a daisy. I left half a bottle stoppered in my fridge for three weeks when I went away on vacation, and the wine was perfect when I returned.

Directions (from experience):

1. Make sure the bottle has been upside down for at least an hour or two, to allow the yeast to settle onto the cork. Make sure it's thoroughly cold (this takes longer with sparkling wine bottles, they're thicker than normal).

2. Fill an ice-bucket with water. No ice. Get your glasses ready.

3. Keeping the bottle upside down, immerse it in the water. Pop the crown cap off with a bottle opener, then *immediately* bring the bottle back upright out of the water. This should expel the wine with the yeast into the water, but keep the rest in the bottle. 

4. Enjoy. (I'm going to get good at this in the next few weeks.)

Technical notes:

Base wine is all Fiano, from Summonte, ie Fiano di Avellino, picked a little early for acidity

Once wine is fermented normally it is bottled with a little sugar and yeast; the yeast turns the sugar into CO2, then stays in the bottle, protecting it from oxidation and adding flavor as it macerates in the wine.

*disgorgement is where the yeasts remaining in the bottle from the secondary fermentation are removed.