My wife and I decided to have bubbly each Friday night last week. As fate and a bit of planning would have it my favorite wine store K&L Wine Merchants was hosting Schramsberg Vineyards for a Friday Night tasting (the fate) to start the V-Day weekend, and we’d planned to take do a tour of the Schramsberg caves and tasting on Valentine’s Day.
Schramsberg is Napa’s second oldest winery (Charles Krug, established in 1861 was the first winery in Napa) according to Keith Hock, the winemaker. It was established in 1862 (click here for a complete historical time line).
What struck me about all the wines was the creamy lingering mouth feel of the mousse (the bubbly foam). All the wines had medium to long finishes, and we dryish, if not dry with low Residual Sugar (“RS”), yet all were fruity on the palate. The lasting impressions were the elegance of all the wines, and the diverse aromas of the wines which seem to be dominated by wonderful yeast, bread dough notes. With the exception of the NV (non-vintage) “Mirabelle” all are vintage sparklers. I’m a fan!
Bubbly Tasting Tip: There are two things I look for when tasting sparkling wines as opposed to still wines, the first is visual. I look for a steady stream of tiny bubbles. The second is how does the mousse feel in my mouth (i.e., how effervescent is it) – Does it feel course or fine? Is it voluminous, or meager? How long does it take to dissipate?
My tasting notes are as follows:
2006 Schramsberg Blanc de Noir Sparkling Wine – $29.99
90% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay. Nose offers plenty of yeast, citrus, and bit of mustiness. On the palate fantastic creamy mousse, with apple, and citrus flavors, very good acidity, a touch of minerality and a long finish. I’m a sucker for Blanc de Noir – My third favorite – but just barely! (1.17 g/100mL)
NV Schramsberg “Mirabelle” North Coast Rosé $19.99
53% Chardonnay, 47% Pinot Noir. On the nose red fruit, citrus, and yeast. On the palate strawberries, cherry, and zippy acidity. Medium finish. I’ll definitely picking up a bottle or three of this one! (1.09 g/100mL)
2007 Schramsberg Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine $32.99
68% Pinot Noir, 32% Chardonnay. On the nose, yeast, bread dough, citrus and faint rose notes. On the palate, creamy delicate mousse with, citrus, strawberries, and peach flavors. Well balanced with crisp acidity. My favorite! (1.06 g/100mL).
2007 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine $27.99
100% Chardonnay. On the nose yeast with citrus, and apple notes. On the palate citrus, and apple with touch of minerality, very good acidity. Medium finish. (1.15 g/100mL)
2003 J Scram Brut Sparkling Wine $99.99
85% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Noir. Nose offers yeast, honey, and citrus aromas. On the palate citrus, and green apple. More full bodied than the previous 4 sparklers, with lengthy finish. My second favorite! (1.2 g/100mL)
2006 Schramsberg Crémant Demi-Sec Sparkling Wine $29.99.
85% Flora, 15% Chardonnay. Nose offers tropical fruit aromas, and banana bread dough. On the palate orange, and peach flavors. On the upper end of off-dry, with a pleasant clean sweetness. Rich, with a clean finish. I really liked this one. My mind immediately went to thoughts of what would I pair it with. The first thought that came to mind is spicy Asian food (Thai, or maybe Indian) But, it would work well on own after a meal if you want a touch of sweetness, or paired with a not too sweet dessert like a panna cotta, it would be marvelous. (3.56 g/100mL)
Note: I wasn’t at all familiar with the Flora grape. According to Schramsberg:
“Schramsberg made California’s first Crémant (French for “creamy”) in 1972. After rigorous study, our winemaking team chose the unique California grape named Flora (a cross of Sémillon and Gewürztraminer developed at UC Davis) to be the core component of this sparkling wine. Flora unites the fruit-forward character of Gewürztraminer with the strength and depth of Sémillon.”
The good news is that this is a great way to start our weekly bubbly pact! The bad news is that it’s going to be a challenge to top it;-)!
Look for more bubbly tasting notes in the coming weeks…Cheers, and Happy V-Day!