Piper Sonoma Rose 1992
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.
What are the different types of Champagne and sparkling wine?
Beloved for its lively bubbles, sparkling wine is the ultimate beverage for any festivity, whether it's a major celebration or a mere merrymaking of nothing much! Sparkling wine is made throughout the winemaking world, but only can be called “Champagne” if it comes from the Champagne region of France and is made using what is referred to as the "traditional method." Other regions have their own specialties—Crémant in other parts of France, Cava in Spain and Prosecco in Italy, to name a few. New World regions like California, Australia and New Zealand enjoy the freedom to make many styles, with production methods and traditions defined locally. In a dry style, Champagne and sparkling wine goes with just about any type of food. Sweet styles are not uncommon and among both dry and sweet, you'll find white, rosé—or even red!—examples.
How is Champagne and sparkling wine made?
Champagne, Crémant, Cava and many other sparkling wines of the world are made using the traditional method, in which the second fermentation (the one that makes the bubbles) takes place inside the bottle. With this method, spent yeast cells remain in contact with the wine during bottle aging, giving it a creamy mouthful, toasted bread or brioche qualities and in many cases, the capacity to age. For Prosecco, the carbonation process usually occurs in a stainless steel tank (before bottling) to preserve the fresh fruity and floral aromas imminent in this style.
What gives Champagne and sparkling wine its bubbles?
The bubbles in sparkling wine are formed when the base wine undergoes a secondary fermentation, which traps carbon dioxide inside the bottle or fermentation vessel.
How do you serve Champagne and sparkling wine?
Ideally for storing Champagne and sparkling wine in any long-term sense, it should be at cellar temperature, about 55F. For serving, cool Champagne and sparkling wine down to about 40F to 50F. (Most refrigerators are colder than this.) As for drinking Champagne and sparkling wine, the best glasses have a stem and flute or tulip shape to allow the bead (bubbles) to show.
How long does Champagne and sparkling wine last?
Most sparkling wines like Prosecco, Cava or others around the “$20 and under” price point are intended for early consumption. Wines made using the traditional method with extended cellar time before release can typically improve with age. If you are unsure, definitely consult a wine professional for guidance.