In 1980, Piper Sonoma was founded with the long-term goal of creating America's finest "methode champenoise" sparkling wines. Piper Sonoma recognized in the soils and climate of northern Sonoma County the potential to carry on the great traditions of champagne, but in the spirit and style of California.
Learn More About Non-Vintage
Most Champagne you encounter will be NV, or non-vintage. This is because the base wine is a blend of wine from
In producing non-vintage wines, Champagne houses strive to keep the taste consistent year by year, and non-vintage
the winemakers flexibility in blending, ensuring a constant style each year. Non-vintage Champagne is released when
it is ready,
so drink within a year or two after you purchase or receive a bottle. That said, there are some stars of non-vintage
that are as
good as many vintage bottlings and can last a few more years. The higher priced non-vintage, or multiple vintages, like
Krug's Grand Cuvée and
Laurent Perrier's Grand Siecle
are prestige cuvées, or tète de cuvées. This means these are the top blends from the house, and of no less quality
vintage Champagne. Krug makes no entry level
Champagne, so everything you see from them is a prestige cuvée.
The difference in styles can be categorized by body. Here's a quick cheat sheet for some of our most popular
Moët & Chandon
Sparkling wines from other regions that are made in the traditional method will also differentiate their
non-vintage and vintage bottlings, just as Champagne. Non-vintage sparkling wine from most wineries will often
have a house style, just as the Champagne houses.
Learn More About Sonoma County, California
Twice as large as Napa in size, Sonoma County only makes about a half the amount of wine as her northeasterly neighbor. But Sonoma, with her size, is able to vouch for more diversity within her borders, including sub-AVAs that are climatically varied. The atmosphere of Sonoma is decidedly laid back and down home country style. But in wines, they are keeping up with the Joneses, or Napa-ites if you will. Grape varieties are more varied here, from Pinot Noir and Zinfandel to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
The largest sub-AVAs of Sonoma include Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Valley. Each sub-AVA, with its own micro-climate, is unique in its grape varieties and styles of wine. Dry Creek makes a mean Zinfandel while Russian River produces stand up Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Alexander Valley makes some of the better Cabernet Sauvignons in the county and Sonoma Valley creates excellent wines from all the above varieties. Other grapes found throughout Sonoma include Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah.