People might cringe when I say this, but, for the money, I’d rather drink Napa Valley’s Schramsberg than French Champagne. Perhaps it’s because I spent the day with the former winemaker, Craig Roemer (now with Saltonstall Estate Winery and Vineyards) during harvest back in 2006. The place — and the experience — is ingrained in my soul. This domestic sparkling wine house simply has the crisp, minerally, bubbly thing down. Not that they’d want their hard work referred to as base as that, but it’s a compliment coming from me.
Schramsberg pioneered the blanc de noirs style in America, with the first release in 1967. The grapes for this wine come from select cool-climate vineyards in four North Coast counties and the breadth of flavors shows off the effort. This refreshing pinot noir-based (10% chardonnay) bubbly is bright, light and elegant with green apple, toasted hazelnuts and a tart lime finish. Delicious. Sw=1. $40. 4.5 stars.