In the foothills of the Alps northeast Lyon exists a little-known winegrowing area named Bugey Cerdon. Bugey is the area and Cerdon is a small town within. In this samll region a handfull of dedicated growers continue to produce a wonderfully refreshing, off-dry rosé sparkling wine, the Méthode Ancéstrale. When entering the region by car, unlike other winemaking regions of France, it is not readily obvious where the grapes are grown or in fact, if there are grapes at all. The vineyards, once spotted, appear to be small patches or clearings on the high slopes of the steep hillsides, generally facing south. Without a local winemaker, access to these vineyards would be impossible. This unique wine can be made from a variety of different grapes, but most are made from same Gamay that is grown in nearby Beaujolais. The wine is bottled during the primary fermentation when the alcohol level is roughly 6%. The fermentation continues until the pressure inside the bottle stops the fermentation at around 8%. This is basically the same process as artisanal cider production.
We stumbled upon this wine in a wonderful farmhouse-restaurant in the hills above Beaune. La Ferme de la Ruchotte serves only meats, eggs and dairy that they raise and their wine list is exceptional. Mostly organic, very reasonably priced and highly eclectic.
Vincent Balivet and his family are one of only a couple of organic growers in the area, and they produce but one wine.