I visited Luxembourg in 2004 because my Contiki bus tour stopped there for lunch. I don’t remember much about it, except for seeing medieval castles on cliffs overhead. I was 19 at the time (hence the Contiki tour) and had only just started working in a wine shop (the long-gone Cristall’s Wine Market). So my knowledge of wine was minimal and I certainly didn’t seek out any of Luxembourg’s own homegrown vino.
Luxembourg is a tiny country both in population and land mass. The population is just over 600,000 and the entire country could fit inside the Edmonton Metropolitan Area – more than three times. It mainly produces white grape varieties like Muller-Thurgau and Pinot Gris, as well as some bubbly (crémant), like the one I tried here.
On first sniff, the Bernard-Massard Cuvée de l’Écusson Brut presents an overwhelming aroma of candy powder – seriously, it was like taking a big ol’ huff of a package of Rockets. There’s some floral elements in there too, and then the palate gives some vague citrus flavours and a bit of fresh baked bread, along with a bite of coffee bean bitterness on the finish.
After tasting, I had absolutely no idea what blend of grapes this was. It had a sort of muddied quality, lacking the precision of a single varietal bubbly like Blanc de Blancs Champagne or Prosecco. I discovered it’s a blend of Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (I couldn’t confirm the exact ratios), which made sense. It’s kind of like a fizzy fruit basket.
Honestly, this didn’t really sell me on Luxembourg wine, though this may have been the first example that I’ve tried – certainly the first that I remember tasting. I wouldn’t choose this over a Cava (my bubbly of choice these days), but it was an interesting alternative to run-of-the-mill sparkling wine, particularly Prosecco. (I am so totally over Prosecco.) I’m definitely interested in trying some other wines from here.
Name: Bernard Massard Cuvée de l’Écusson Brut
Grape: Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
Taste: candy powder, citrus, fresh bread, coffee bean
Texture: fine mousse with citrusy acidity and slight bitterness
Rating: perfect with Rockets