Maison Ferrand’s S.D.A. — Selection des Anges, the angels’ selection — is not a new expression, but the brand has recently retooled it, creating new packaging and upping the proof slightly from 80 to 83.6. We never reviewed the expression in its pre-Covid incarnation, but we’re digging in to a 2021 bottling all the same. It’s still made from 100% Grande Champagne fruit, bottled with no formal age classification.
From the first sip, this is clearly solid stuff.
On the nose: Heady incense, gently floral with a strong current of baking spice and fresh plums. Sweet but restrained, there’s a layer of barrel char that balances out the fruitier elements with the lightest of hands. The palate showcases lots of fresh fruit — plums, red berries, and currants — before letting that gentle barrel char note back into the house. It’s toasty but not particularly woody, with a slightly green element to it that is reminiscent of the vineyard. The finish immediately punches you with a a fat, plump, juice raisin character, so strong you can taste the sweat on the Sun-Maid lady, but this fades with time in glass, ultimately allowing a slightly savory character to emerge. The fade-out showcases more currants, some balsamic notes, and a final hint of flowers on a delightfully complex denouement.
Beautiful and rich, this is a decidedly worthwhile experience.