Premier American Sparkling

Today’s Story: Schramsberg Vineyards

Schramsberg Vineyards was founded in 1862 by Jacob Schram when he purchased 200 acres and began the development of hillside vineyards in Napa. In 1870, Chinese laborers dug what became the first hillside caves in Napa Valley for aging and storing wine, with the winery quickly ramping up production. By 1880, Schramsberg was producing 8,403 cases of wine annually from 50 acres of vines, which ramped up to about 28,361 cases from 100 acres of vines by the year 1890. If this history sounds familiar, it’s because the Davies family purchased the Schramsberg property in 1965 and I’ve reviewed several of their still wines starting with the 2012 Ferrington Vineyards Pinot Noir in Who Wants Pie? on October 9. With their ownership, Jack and Jamie Davies started producing sparkling wines under the historic Schramsberg label with a goal of producing America’s premier sparkling wine.

Fun fact: Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs was served for President Nixon’s 1972 “Toast to Peace” with China’s Premier Zhou Enlai. Since then, Schramsberg sparkling wines have been served at official State functions by every U.S. Presidential administration.

Today’s Wine: 2005 J. Schram Sparkling Rosé

79% Chardonnay, 21% Pinot Noir; 12.3% ABV

The 2005 J. Schram is a bright salmon pink in color and fully transparent. On the nose, this sparkler showcases aromas of strawberry, raspberry, peach, baked red apple, toasted almond, brioche toast, and a hint of lees. Once in the mouth, the wine shows notes of cherry, strawberry, blood orange, apricot, grapefruit, hazelnut, and lightly buttered toast. Moderately full-bodied, this sparkling wine has vibrant mouthwatering acidity into a long finish ending in notes of crisp red apple skin and crunchy red berries.

Price: $110. Though this is one of the best sparkling rosés I’ve had, I would be perfectly content saving $40 and buying a Veuve Clicquot Rosé Champagne even though it’s a NV bottling. Pair this with shrimp, salmon, cold cuts, or sweet cheese.

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