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Schramsberg J. Schram 2003

Vintage Sparkling Wine from California
  • CG95
  • WE94
  • WS92
Ships Fri, Sep 29
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Winemaker Notes

The 2003 vintage provided one of the wettest springs on record, affording a beneficially long and cool growing season. Early season heat spikes got the vines growing and the season evolved nicely with warm days and cool nights. The grapes developed beautifully with delicious fruit flavors and elevated acidity.

A gorgeous depth of fruit greets the nose: lemon-lime, pineapple, baked pear and orange marmalade. Fresh sourdough, vanilla crème brûlée and toasted marshmallow notes follow. A crisp and zippy entry on the palate gives way to a viscous, caramelized apple and citrus profile. This rich sparkling wine finishes with a delicate minerality, a hint of warm roasted almonds and a lingering acidity.

Critical Acclaim

CG 95
Connoisseurs' Guide

Once again, Schramsberg's flagship bubbly winds up at the right end of the leaderboard. Its bold, complex blending of toast, caramel, yeast and crème brûlée takes it far beyond the realm of primary fruit, and yet, for all that the wine possesses, it succeeds because it has energetic, briskly focused fruit at its heart. With its creamy mousse of small bubbles and its rich, developed flavors in the mouth, it is a wine to serve with a first course of a fois gras crème caramel or a finely crafted lobster mousse because nothing less decadent will bring out all that is on offer here.

WE 94
Wine Enthusiast

A beautiful, rich, elegant, fancy sparkling wine. Feels so fine in the mouth, all silk and satin, with deep, dry raspberry, strawberry, vanilla, toast, yeasty lees, brioche and honey flavors. Superb, but young. Needs time. Give it until 2011, if you can keep your hands off, and should develop until 2015, if not longer. Cellar Selection

WS 92
Wine Spectator

A beautiful bubbly, boldly styled but retaining elegance, with aromas of fresh brioche and apple and layered flavors of spicy hazelnut, yeast and baked pear.

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Schramsberg

Schramsberg Vineyards

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Schramsberg Vineyards, , California
Schramsberg
Focused on Schramsberg's top Chardonnay barrel and tank lots, and aged for seven years prior to release, J. Schram is the winery's signature Brut sparkling wine. Jack and Jamie Davies revived the historic vineyards and cellars in 1965, with a mission to produce California's first world-class sparkling wines. Today, led by their son Hugh, Schramsberg's team continues with this commitment to quality and innovation. Schramsberg also produces the J. Schram Rose, Reserve, Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs, Brut Rose, Cremant Demi-Sec and J. Davies Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.

Argentina

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Stretching from the Andes to Patagonia, Argentina's unique terroir lends to high quality wines. Formerly associated with inexpensive bulk wine but dramatically shifting focus from quantity to quality, Argentina is the most important wine-producing country in South America. Certainly excellent values abound here still, but increases in vineyard investment, improved winery technology, and a commitment to innovation since the late 20th century have contributed to the country’s burgeoning image as a producer of great wines at all price points. The climate here is diverse but generally continental and agreeable, with hot, dry summers and cold snowy winters—a positive, as snow melt from the Andes Mountains can be used to irrigate vineyards. Grapes very rarely have any difficulty achieving full ripeness.

Mendoza, a large and famous region responsible for more than 70% of Argentina’s wine production, is further divided into several sub-regions, including Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley. Red wines dominate here, especially Malbec, the country’s star variety, while Chardonnay is the most successful white. The province of San Juan is best known for blends of Bonarda and Syrah. Torrontés is a specialty of the La Rioja and Salta regions, the latter of which is also responsible for excellent Malbecs grown at very high elevation.

Known for its big, bold flavors and supple texture, Malbec is most famous for its runaway success in Argentina. However, the variety actually originates in Bordeaux, where it historically contributed color and tannin to blends but was susceptible to viticultural problems. After being nearly wiped out by a devastating frost in 1956, it was never significantly replanted, although it did flourish under the name Côt in nearby Cahors. Malbec was brought to Argentina in 1868 by a French agronomist who saw great potential for the variety in Mendoza’s hot, high-altitude landscape, but did not gain its current reputation as the national grape of Argentina until a surge in popularity in the late 20th century thanks to its easy-going drinkability.

In the Glass

Malbec typically expresses deep flavors of freshly turned earth, black fruits from berries to plums, and licorice, appropriately backed by dense, chewy tannins. In warmer, New World regions, such as Mendoza, it can be quite intense and often needs time to mellow before becoming drinkable. In the Old World, its rusticity shines, with aged examples showing dusty notes of leather and tobacco. The best examples in all regions often possess a beguiling bouquet of violets.

Perfect Parings

Malbec’s rustic character begs for flavorful dishes, like spicy grilled sausages or the classic cassoulet of France’s Southwest. South American iterations are best enjoyed as they would be in Argentina: with a thick, juicy steak.

Sommelier Secret

If you’re trying to please a crowd, Malbec is generally a safe bet. With its combination of bold flavors and soft tannins, it will appeal to basically anyone who enjoys red wine. Malbec also wins bonus points for affordability, as even the most inexpensive examples are often quite good.

YNG190228_2003 Item# 107336

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