So many sparkling wines, so little time! How do you choose? Let me help. First of all, there are many wineries from which to choose, so I’m going to recommend one in the Napa Valley and one in the Sonoma Valley.
J Vineyards and Winery in Sonoma Valley, has a modern tasting room in the J Visitor’s Center, located just south of Healdsburg, California. Opened in 1999, Judy Jordan wanted a place where guests could fully experience elegant wine and food pairings – the first program of its kind in Sonoma County. Winemaker Melissa Stackhouse has an in-depth knowledge of the Russian River Valley and its unique terroir. As a certified sustainable winery, everything that happens in the vineyards affects winemaking. And the winemaking methods and techniques they use are focused on delivering J’s essence of style – a combination of balance, elegance, and varietal expression. There are seven different sparkling wines available, and they are all made using Mêthode Champenoise, the traditional technique of making Champagne in the region northeast of Paris, France.
Let’s move on to Napa, and talk about Schramsberg. The Schramsberg estate is tucked into the densely forested slopes of Diamond Mountain, a few miles south of the town of Calistoga, and is home to the oldest hillside vineyards in Napa. It totals 218 acres with 43 acres planted to vines. In 1862, Jacob Schram, a German immigrant, arrived in California, and from humble beginnings, a sparkling wine empire was built.
In the late 1800s, Chinese laborers dug into the hillside’s volcanic rock to build caves for aging and storing wine. Additional tunnels were added in the 1980s and currently cover 34,000 square feet. The caves maintain a consistent cool
temperature, providing an environment that is paramount in the flavor development of bottled-aged sparkling wines. At any given time, as many as 2.7 million bottles are in the Schramsberg caves, aging two to ten years before release.
In1957, Schramsberg was declared a Historical Monument by the California Historical Society. With over 10 sparkling wines from which to choose, you can’t make a mistake.
Sparkling wines from both J Vineyards and Schramsberg are available in most fine wine shops. You only have one day left to get your party started. Napa Valley Wine Country Tours wishes you a “Sparkling” New Year. www.schramsberg.com