L. Mawby has produced estate grown and bottled Leelanau Peninsula wines since their first crush in the fall of 1978. Now they make entirely methode champenoise and cuve close method sparkling wines. Many wines are from their estate vineyards; however, they are producing wines from grapes purchased from other vineyards as well. Their current annual production is less than 8000 cases: this modest volume allows them the pleasure of winemaking in the style they enjoy – small lots made with minimal handling.
All L. Mawby sparkling wines are made using the methode champenoise, and are aged in the bottle before disgorging, with many cuvees being given 3 or more years of tirage aging. Their M. Lawrence sparkling wines are produced in the cuve close method, are given less aging, and are less costly than the method champenoise sparkling wines.
Methods of Producing Sparkling Wine and their Relation to M. Lawrence: Most sparkling wines go through two fermentations: one to turn the grape juice into still wine without bubbles (that’s called a base wine) and a subsequent one to turn the base wine into bubbly wine. The winemaker instigates the second fermentation by adding yeasts and sugar to the base wine. The added yeasts convert the added sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide (CO2) bubbles. When yeasts convert sugar into alcohol, carbon dioxide is a natural by-product. If fermentation takes place in a closed container, that prevents this carbon dioxide from escaping into the air. With nowhere else to go, the CO2 becomes trapped in the wine in the form of bubbles.
Beginning with the second fermentation, the longer and slower the winemaking process, the more complex the sparkling wine will be. Some sparkling wines are ten years in the making; others are produced in only a few months. Although many variations exist, most sparkling wines are produced in one of two ways: through second fermentation in a tank (like the M. Lawrence ‘US’), or through second fermentation in a bottle. The quickest, most efficient way of making a sparkling wine involves conducting the second fermentation in large, closed, pressurized tanks. This method is called the tank method or cuve close (meaning closed tank in French), or charmat method (after a Frenchman named Eugene Charmat, who championed this process).
M. Lawrence ‘US’ Brut is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes that are hand-picked and carefully whole-cluster pressed. The juice is fermented in stainless steel tanks, then blended with reserve wines and fermented a second time in a closed tank [the cuve close method]. The wine is then filtered, dosaged, and bottled.
Varietal: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
Alcohol: 11.0% by volume
Tasting Notes: Pale yellow gold… complex fruit aromas… yeasty accents… fruity… crisp style.
Food Pairings: Sparkling wine is one of the most fun wines to pair with so many different kinds of food. Drink this wine with scrambled eggs, popcorn, potato chips, cheese, pasta, or sushi!
Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “Lively, electric, and really fun! Great wine for the holidays! I’m a bubbly kind of a person, and this is right up my alley!”-JL