Piper Sonoma Brut
Piper Sonoma was founded in 1980 by the Marquis d’Aulan, whose family ties to Champagne has spanned generations. His vision was to create world-class sparkling wines in the New World, using traditional Old-World winemaking techniques.
Nearly forty years later, Piper Sonoma continues to realize that vision under the guidance of long-time sparkling winemaker Keith Hock. Working closely with growers in the vineyard and utilizing site specificity and small lot fermentations, Piper Sonoma handcrafts elegant and balanced wines that emphasize the varietal characteristics of the grapes as well as their individual growing sites.
Sourcing only from environmentally conscious Sonoma County grape growers who use sustainable farming practices, Piper Sonoma ensures conservation and stewardship of the land. With its maritime climate, Sonoma County is blessed with a long growing season, consisting of sunny days, cool evenings and minimal rain which is ideal for ripening grapes and preserving their acidity and balance.
Piper Sonoma handcrafts their sparkling wines from the classic varietals Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, by Méthode Champenoise, the same technique used to craft the best Champagnes. Each vineyard lot is hand-harvested, fermented and aged separately, which allows each wine’s unique characteristics to shine during the assemblage of the blends. Primary fermentation takes place in tanks and barrels and then each cuvée is tirage bottled where it undergoes a second fermentation.
Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa Valley, the region only produces about half the amount of wine but boasts both tremendous quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.
Grape varieties are carefully selected to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Carneros. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.
A term typically reserved for Champagne and Sparkling Wines, non-vintage or simply “NV” on a label indicates a blend of finished wines from different vintages (years of harvest). To make non-vintage Champagne, typically the current year’s harvest (in other words, the current vintage) forms the base of the blend. Finished wines from previous years, called “vins de reserve” are blended in at approximately 10-50% of the total volume in order to achieve the flavor, complexity, body and acidity for the desired house style. A tiny proportion of Champagnes are made from a single vintage.
There are also some very large production still wines that may not claim one particular vintage. This would be at the discretion of the winemaker’s goals for character of the final wine.