California Sparklers

California sparkling wines

You might have noticed the price of French champagnes is through the roof.  We are sorry about that trend and offer a couple alternatives for you to consider.  You should be aware the name “champagne” can be used only for wines produced in a certain, delimited area of France.  Or so says trade agreements with the EU.  The result is wines made in the same method – a second fermentation in the bottle, aging on the lees, followed by disgorgement of the yeasts – are called sparkling wines. But they follow the same process and many of just as good as a Champagne.

Schramsberg – the Davies family started making sparkling wines in Napa in 1965.  And they wanted to make the best, most prestigious sparkling wines.  And for California, they did.   Their wines were initially served at Nixon’s 1972 “Toast for Peace” with China’s Premier and many official state functions since.

We offer their Blanc-de-Blanc.  It is their entry level wine but very good value.  It is 100% Chardonnay and is made in a traditional champagne style of méthode champenoise.

The Schramsberg style of Blanc-de-Blanc is dry and crisp.  There are flavors of granny smith apples, lemon and brioche.   I don’t think you’ll miss the more expensive French alternative.

Roederer Estate L’Ermitage – Roederer is a French champagne producer who wanted to expand beyond Reims.  They chose land in the Anderson Valley in Mendocino California and, in 1988, began producing a sparkling wine.   They also brought 200 years of wine making expertise with them and, five generations later, the Rouzaud family continues to own the company.

The Roederer L’Ermitage wine is generally rated as the top sparkling wine in California.  The climate in Mendocino is cold and wet and the wines are fruity, acidic and bubbly.  However, L’Ermitage is produced only in exceptional years, so we don’t always have it in stock.  If not, their entry level, Anderson Valley Brut, is a great value.  Or the Schramsberg.