How Winemaker Dave Potter Made His First Bubbly

Year 2015 saw the release of Dave Potter's very first sparkling wine -- the Potek 2012 Blanc de Blancs.  Only 40 cases were made.

Recently, when a small group of Santa Barbara restaurateurs and foodies tasted nine local sparkling wines blindly, we really enjoyed this Potter creation: wonderful yeast on the nose; aromas of almonds, lemon zest and apple cider; a lively, bright mouth feel with nice minerality.  (For the full story on our blind tasting, which included bubbles by Fess Parker, Flying Goat Cellars and Riverbench, click here.)

Here, Potter offers a peek into how his '12 Blanc de Blancs was made.

Blanc de Blancs is our sparkling wine made from 100% Chardonnay grapes from the sandy-soil Moorman Vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills.  The cool climate fruit retains excellent acid balance at harvest, which is done by hand in early August.

In the winery, we use a special press cycle to squeeze the juice very slowly and gently to extract minimal phenolics.  After pressing, the juice is cold settled overnight and then racked to barrels for primary fermentation and aging.  The wine is aged in oak for eight months and a partial malolactic fermentation is allowed.  We also stir lees during the first few months of elevage to build texture and weight.

We employ the traditional Champagne Method for our sparkling wines and this wine was en tirage, or aged on lees in bottle for about three years before disgorging in November of 2015.

The resulting wine is elegant and fresh, with finesse and understated complexity.  Our 2012 Blanc de Blancs seems transparent, with almost savory herbal and mineral flavors rather than the richer fruit tones that are found sparkling wines with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. 

The wine is harmoniously well-balanced and full-bodied. Initial flavors of green apple and citrus fruit prevail, however these give way to yeasty brioche and creamy aromas of butter and meringue.  There is an overall impression of delicious complexity. The finish is vibrant and long.

Potter is tasting and selling his 2012 Blanc de Blancs at his two downtown Santa Barbara tasting rooms: Potek Winery, 406 E. Haley Street, and Municipal Winemakers, 22 Anacapa Street.  You can also order it online


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