Lord of the Rings – One Sparkling Wine To Rule Them All
8th November 2022
The world is changed, I feel it in the wine, I feel it in the barrel, I smell it in the glass, much that once was, is lost, none now live who remember it.
It began with the fermenting of the sparkling wines three were given to the winemakers, immortal, wisest and fairest of all beings.
Seven to the viticulturist, great planters and grape growers of the mountain hill.
And nine, nine wines were gifted to the race of men, who above all else desire quality sparkling wine.
For within these sparkling wines was bound the strength and the will to govern each palate.
But they were all of them deceived, for another wine was made.
In the land of Mordor, in the Fires of Mount Doom, the Dark Lord Sauron forged, in secret, a master wine, to control all others, and into this wine, he poured his creativity, his knowledge and his will to dominate all the Sparkling Wine industry.
One sparkling wine to rule them all.
It has fallen upon us to embark on a heroic quest to deliver the one Sparkling Wine to Mordor, once there we will pop open the bottle and taste its splendid wonders in front of the Fires of Mount Doom.
The journey will be hard-fought, treacherous, and enlighting, as long as we don’t get tempted to drink the Sparkling Wine before we reach Mordor.
The Journey’s Begining
The sun has risen over the Shire, casting its light upon the meadows, reflexing off the water, eliminating our bedroom, the sun wakes us, and our ears are greeted with the joyous sounds of our neighbors up early working the grounds and enjoying a fruitful breakfast.
Our gentle rise from our bed is suddenly interrupted by a loud knock at our door, in our slow sleepy way, we move towards the door, but our pace is not what our unannounced guest is wanting, so they knock louder, faster and more frequently.
“What?” we say with a cold attitude as we crack open the door, but no one stands on the other side, we look from side to side but see no one that would have knocked, frustrated, we slam the door and walk into our kitchen to start preparing a hot brew to wake up our senses, while we get dressed for the day ahead.
A warm relaxing cuppa in our hands, ‘knock’ knock’ ‘knock’, the door shakes with the strength, frustrated again we rush to the door and swing it open in hopes to catch this prankster, but to our surprise, it’s our friend Biff, he lives just two doors down, he stands there with a pipe in his mouth and a book in hand, “What are you doing here?” we ask, “I’ve figured it out” Biff responds, “What have you figured out?” “Let me show you,” he says with excitement, “OK, come on in” we step aside allowing him to pass through, but he doesn’t budge, instead he gestures down to the small wooden box placed on our welcome mat and says “Did you know you had a delivery?”
Confused we kneel down and pick up the wooden box and before we even rise back up to our feet, Biff had disappeared into our home, we don’t even have a chance to open the box as Biff calls us in with urgency, when we entered our living room, Biff stood with a huge smile on his face, his book laid out on our table, along with a glass of water.
He started speaking in what seemed like an ancient tongue “Reyse Thys Efup Ufeth Weter Frun Yts Eerthlie Presenefe Endeth Trensfurn Yteth Yntu Wyne”
We watched patiently, slightly confused, waiting for something to happen, but once Biff’s smile slowly disappeared, we know that his efforts had failed, but instead of his mood falling with his smile, he turned to us and asked “What’s in the box?” not wanting to comment on what had happened, we reply “I don’t know, I wasn’t expecting anything”
“Go on, open it”, standing in front of our open fire, we slide open the box, welcoming the light inside, we see a golden shine bounce out, reveling further we see it’s a bottle.
“What’s this?” we ask with puzzling intrigue, as we look up to Biff, he’s taken a step back, staring right at the bottle “It can’t be” he muttered, “What is it, what can’t it be?” we requested.
“The legend is true, that’s the one bottle, the Sparkling Wine made to rule them all, a great honor has just been bestowed on you”
“What legend, why would I be bestowed this?”
“As you know, a great evil is spreading across the land, but before this evil started spreading, one bottle of Sparkling Wine was created to rule them all, we have a duty to protect and deliver this bottle to mount doom where it must be set down to age for eternity, no doubt a great wizard has entrusted this on you, we cannot let him down!”
“This all seems a little ridiculous to me”
“Enough talk, we must leave now before evil finds its way to our village.”
Still confused about why we are the chosen one, we follow Biff with the bottle of the one Sparkling Wine in hand, our journey has just begun.
Biff leads us out of the Shire, across the river and into the wild fields, where we spend what seems like days walking and foraging for supplies, we’re kept occupied by the many tales that Biff shares along the way.
“No quest worth taking presents an absence of obstacles to overcome, no hardship or progress, it falls to those who can brave the road, to persevere and achieve their goal” Biff reminds us, “And we have a noble quest to carry out, so we must not fail”
Throughout our journey we venture high and low making our way towards mount doom, upon a cliff edge, we peered down and saw a scouting party of orcs following in our tracks.
“Oh no, no, no, this isn’t good, what happens if they catch us?” we ask with fear in our eyes.
“They will take back the one Sparkling Wine, rule the land and most likely make sure we aren’t around to see it”
For the rest of the day, our pace doubled and we took less frequent rests until we came to a river’s edge, Biff had the brilliant idea of walking downstream and then crossing over to the other side to help throw the orcs off our scent, unfortunately, neither of us knew how fierce the river would get, and once we realised, it was rather too late.
By the time the river softened and we could find our footing, we had reached the bottle of a valley, we were fortunate that the forceful journey only knocked the wind out of us and caused a few scrapes, we took a moment to catch our breath and appreciate the fact that we survived and hopefully lost the tracking orcs, we set off to mount doom.
With it seeming so close, our journey to continue the ageing of the one Sparkling Wine to rule them all in mount doom is almost complete, it has not been easy, constantly tempted to pop open the Sparkling Wine and enjoy its splendid wonders, but at last, we must stick true to our mission and move forward to the end.
By the time we reach mount doom, the skies will fill with darkness, hunting parties of orcs will venture into the wilderness and the winds will be moved by the wings of fire-breathing dragons.
“I feel it, the temptation of the Sparkling Wine, it’s too strong now for me to resist any longer, I must open the bottle and taste the Sparkling Wine that was produced to rule them all.”
Well, this journey has been pointless, I succumb to the temptation to drink this Gold medal-winning Sparkling Wine, thankfully Gandolf came out of nowhere just in time to save us and middle earth.
Fortunately, Gandolf didn’t end up kicking every drop out of the bottle, so let’s sit down and discover New Zealand’s No.1 Winery.
No.1 Family Estate
No.1 Family Estate has its name, and rightfully so, because of the many firsts that the Le Brun family has achieved for the New Zealand Sparkling Wine industry.
There is a lot to discover about this New Zealand Winery, I dedicated an entire article to their history and Sparkling Wines, titled, New Zealand Sparkling Wine – How To Be No.1, but let’s just take some of the highlights for this article and then we can get down to the tasting because this Sparkling Wine is starting to lose its chill next to all this lava.
The Le Brun family, who own No.1 Family Estate, have roots dating back to 1684 in the Champagne region in France, but No.1 Family Estate was created in New Zealand by Adele & Daniel Le Brun, with Daniel earning himself the nickname, ‘The Grandfather of Méthode Traditionelle’ in New Zealand.
Adele & Daniel had a successful Sparkling Wine venture in New Zealand before they launched No.1 Family Estate, their first winery was called Cellier Le Brun, Daniel and Adele released their very first Sparkling Wine on the 5th of November, 1985, they called it the Daniel Le Brun NV, when they opened their first bottle, they had over 200 guests, including New Zealand’s House of Representatives and the French Ambassador Mr Jacques Bourgoin, the bottled was opened with a sabrage.
I asked Daniel Le Brun – How did it feel when you opened your first Méthode Traditionelle produced in New Zealand? – His reply was “Opening the first bottle was very rewarding, even if there was a way to go, but it showed a lot of potential: ” Keep cool and carry on boy”
They continued pushing the brand and working hard until 1996 when they sold their first venture, but not wanting to leave the industry, as it’s been in their blood for generations, they shortly after created No.1 Family Estate in 1997.
This is where the No.1 Family Estate Comes into view, in 1997, as they could no longer use their name as a brand, they decided on the name No.1 Family Estate in recognition of the many ‘firsts’ in New Zealand wine they had achieved over the years.
On Bastille Day 1999, they released their first Cuvée No.1 under the No.1 Family Estate brand and in 2012 their No.1 Assemblé was the first wine in New Zealand to be labeled ‘Méthode Marlborough’ in place of Méthode Traditionelle.
The bottle we carried all this way across middle earth was their No.1 Assemblé, a very special bottle, that will forever be referred to as New Zealand’s first Méthode Traditionelle Sparkling Wine.
No.1 Family Estate – No.1 Assemblé – Tasting Notes
Aroma – “Lovely dark, well-baked pastry, surrounded by rich green apples and yellow fruits, sweet lime and a touch of savory notes, with cured meats and gammon.”
Flavour – “Initial zesty characters, from green, white and yellow fruits, a lovely display of the terroir, with chalk, minerals and wet stones, now we’re getting the toasty notes, powerful, but calm enough to allow the other flavours to continue shining alongside.”
Gold Medal in the Oaky & Toasty Category at the Glass of Bubbly Awards
This article is made possible thanks to the incredible mind of J. R. R. Tolkien, Middle-earth Enterprise, Embracer Group and the great craftsmanship of No.1 Family Estate.
Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.