Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs 2015
#23 wine in VinePair's Top 50 of 2018
The 2015 Blanc de Blancs has bright aromas of apple, tropical fruit and baked bread, which intermingle with hints of lemon blossom, vanilla wafer and baked pear. Candied citrus, green apple, apricot, and pineapple vibrate on the palate, which ends clean and refreshing with a quenching drive.
While this wine can be enjoyed by itself as an apéritif, it is also perfect with fresh oysters and other shellfish, crab cakes, ceviche and grilled sea bass. It is also delicious with lemon chicken and Thai curries. Serve with aged Gouda or other hard cheeses, and as a counterpoint to soft triple creams.
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In 1965, Jack and Jamie Davies founded Schramsberg and set out to make world-class sparkling wine in the true méthode traditionelle style on the property originally established in 1862 by German immigrant Jacob Schram. There were only 22 bonded wineries in Napa Valley and fewer than 100 acres of California vineyards planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Schramsberg was the first California winery to provide a Blanc de Blancs in 1965 followed by a Blanc de Noirs in 1967. Now their son, Hugh Davies, leads the winery’s management and winemaking team.
The Schramsberg estate in Napa Valley’s famed Diamond Mountain District is a registered historic landmark with Napa’s first caves, hand-dug in the 1880s, and its first hillside vineyards. Quality focus drives all aspects of wine production starting with access to over 120 cool-climate sites in Carneros, Marin, Mendocino and Sonoma, which result in over 200 separate lots. Unique among California sparkling wine houses, Schramsberg ferments about 25 percent of its juice in oak barrels to produce rich, flavorful, complex wines.
Most of Schramsberg’s viticultural and winemaking practices are carried out by hand: grapes are hand harvested, the wines are handcrafted, and the bottles are stacked and riddled in underground caves. The family and the winery embody excellence and innovation in winemaking, as well as preservation of their land, their history and their community.
Reaching up California's coastline and into its valleys north of San Francisco, the North Coast AVA includes six counties: Marin, Solano, Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake. While Napa and Sonoma enjoy most of the glory, the rest produce no shortage of quality wines in an intriguing and diverse range of styles.
Climbing up the state's rugged coastline, the chilly Marin County, just above the City and most of Sonoma County, as well as Mendocino County on the far north end of the North Coast successfully grow cool-climate varieties like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and in some spots, Riesling. Inland Lake County, on the other hand, is considerably warmer, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc produce some impressive wines with affordable price tags.
Representing the topmost expression of a Champagne house, a vintage Champagne is one made from the produce of a single, superior harvest year. Vintage Champagnes account for a mere 5% of total Champagne production and are produced about three times in a decade. Champagne is typically made as a blend of multiple years in order to preserve the house style; these will have non-vintage, or simply, NV on the label. The term, "vintage," as it applies to all wine, simply means a single harvest year.