The good times always roll when Ales Kristancic (ah-lesh Kris-TON-chitch) of the Slovenian winery Movia comes to town to promote his wine. He is a bald, Baltic ball of fun and brings his lively spirit, passion for wine, and inimitable use of the phrase “tzak, tzak” to town (“tzak” has no real translation, but he uses it when he doesn’t know the proper English verb).
One of the wines he was promoting during his visit on February 8 and 9 was his wonderful sparkling wine called Puro. Made from 100% Pinot Noir, Puro has the distinction of being the rare sparkling wine bottled with its lees. You see, the lees in Champagne or other sparkling wines are the leftover dead yeast cells from the second fermentation, which is the in-bottle fermentation that carbonates the wine. Most of the time, the lees are removed to leave you with the crystal clear sparkling wine that you know and love. But Ales contends that leaving them in the wine keeps it protected from oxidation and obviates the use of sulfur to keep the wine fresh. But doing so means that the bottle must be hand-disgorged by the server. This is done by storing the Puro in an upside down position so the lees settle in the neck against the cork. You must then remove the foil and cage and slightly loosen the cork. When it starts to come out a little, dunk the neck of the bottle into a tub of water and take the cork all the way out. In a split-second, it will shoot the lees into the water, and as it does, lift the bottle out. And there you have it: home-disgorged, perfectly fresh, clean and pure sparkling Pinot Noir from the fabulous biodynamic Movia vineyards in Slovenia. It’s a nifty trick at a restaurant and fun to do at home.
Puro can be had at restaurant Delfina and purchased at the William Cross Wine Merchant. Learn more about Movia (in Slovenian) at www.movia.si.
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