The Illinois Sparkling Company Brut is a non-vintage Champagne-style (Traditional Method) sourced from the St. Pepin grape grown a vineyard just south of Kankakee, Illinois, not too far south of Chicago and near the Indiana border. The Illinois Sparkling Co is located in Peru, Illinois, which is west and a little south of Chicago, in the middle of the state. Illinois has a fairly large grape growing AVA which is located south of St. Louis, along the Mississippi River. So, the Illinois Sparkling Company is unusual, even by Illinois wine standards. The St. Pepin grape is a hybrid and is suited for cold climates, though the growing season in Northern Illinois can be very warm, this grape is bred to survive brutal winters. As a Champagne-style wine, the Illinois Sparkling Co motto is more “More Champaign and less Champagne” (Champaign, Illinois is the home of the University of Illinois), this Bubbly under goes 2 fermentations. The first fermentation is the same for still wines and the second fermentation occurs when the wine is bottled and yeast and some sugar is added to each bottle. This is where the bubbles are formed. The alcohol content is 12.5%. Brut indicates that this is a dry Sparkling wine.
The color is a hint of golden-yellow with light bubbles. The nose is lemons and yeasty bread, along with green apple. This is a crisp, clean, refreshing and bold, bubbly. It tastes of tart citrus, lemon, lime and grapefruit and apples with a bit of crusty bakery bread. The acidity is well-balanced and this Bubbly has very good length, the flavors seem to hang on for some time. The finish is crisp and clean.
Well, I shouldn’t be surprised, if Gruet can make wonderful Bubbly out of grapes grown in Truth or Consequences, NM, then a Bubbly made in the center of Northern Illinois can be a whole lot of fun to drink. The ISWC Brut is a unique and a very, very solid Sparkling wine, it holds its own as a Bubbly, it is no novelty wine. The ISWC Brut is not exactly inexpensive, it lists for $26, but it is a very satisfying, tasty artisan Bubbly produced in just about the last place you would expect to find very good Bubbles