L'Ermitage is Roederer Estate's special Tête de Cuvée, which has consistently been rated one of California's top sparkling wines since its debut in 1989. As in Champagne, L'Ermitage is made only in exceptional years, of pre-selected grapes that come from only the very best lots.
Fine tiny bubbles and a long lasting mousse are the usual footprints of the L'Ermitage cuvée. This cuvee of the Millenium is fruity (apple, peach) with a delicate bread crust note. Mouth feel is on well balanced wine with baked apple flavors and a long and round creamy finish.
Roederer Estate Winery
The crisp, fresh and rich flavors of Roederer Estate sparkling wines reflect the cool, fog-shrouded Anderson Valley that is home to their family-owned estate's 600 acres of vineyards. This protected valley in Northern California provides the ideal ripening conditions for their 100% estate-grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. Founded in 1982, Roederer Estate adds oak-aged reserve wines to all their blends to create complex, dry and harmonious sparkling wines.
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Beyond Napa and Sonoma in the north you find a couple of other counties producing great wine. Among these are Mendocino and Lake County. The northernmost California winegrowing regions, these two counties are right above Napa and Sonoma, geographically. Yet, wine-wise they are very different – both from their southern neighbors and from each other.
Mendocino has a high amount of organic vintners and vines. The first winery to settle here was Fetzer, which practices organic viticulture and holds some of the most vineyard land in the area. Mendocino has many pockets of micro-climates while Lake County, being smaller in size, is less diverse climactically. As for the grapes, Chardonnay is the most popular in both counties, but there are also some excellent Sauvignon Blancs, particularly in the Lake County. In red wine, Zinfandel leads the way, followed by Rhone Blends and Petite Sirah. The reds in both counties are complex and sumptuous. Anderson Valley is a sub-AVA of Mendicino and is quite well known for its excellent cool climate, producing the delicious Roederer Estate sparkling wines and some wonderful cool-climate Syrah.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country unto itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Not sweet, but with a nice complexity. There is a lot going on with this champagne, so I would not choose it if I just wanted a crisp, clean dry selection. My husband and I enjoyed this very much as a start to our evening -- prior to dinner.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.