Schramsberg Reserve Brut 2012
Blend: 88% Pinot Noir, 12% Chardonnay
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Intricate, luxurious and beautifully mature, this wine, after eight years of bottle aging, shows great depth and complexity in its seductive aromas and flavors of toasted almond, peach, ginger and lemon. The texture is smooth yet lively. Made with 88% Pinot Noir and 12% Chardonnay. Editors’ Choice.
What a remarkable nose: After seven and a half years en tirage, this golden blend of 88% Pinot Noir and 12% Chardonnay spills like a cornucopia with aromas of candied squash, brioche, roasted nuts, and honeysuckle before an equally sumptuous, nutty palate of dried apple, quince, orange, and just a hint of butterscotch unfolds amid a lovely, lasting bead. Even the acidity is rich.
Plush and rich, with plump strawberry and apple brioche flavors accented by roasted ginger and toasty spice notes that build toward a decadent finish. Drink now.
88% Pinot Noir; 12% Chardonnay. There will no doubt be those who find the latest Schramsberg Reserve to be far too lacking in fruit for their taste, and, while we would agree that defined fruit is simply not in the equation here, the wine is as complex as they come, and its very deep aromas and flavors are wholly focused on intensely toasty, autolyzed yeast. It is teetering on the brink of old age as it nears its tenth birthday, and, even though it still retains a very fine and unceasing mousse, it is, in our view, best tagged for drinking over the course of the next several years. If, perhaps, not a wine that will meet with universal applause, it is a genuinely fascinating one over which fans of well-aged sparklers are sure to swoon.
In 1965, Jack and Jamie Davies founded Schramsberg and set out to make world-class sparkling wine in the true méthode traditionelle style on the property originally established in 1862 by German immigrant Jacob Schram. There were only 22 bonded wineries in Napa Valley and fewer than 100 acres of California vineyards planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Schramsberg was the first California winery to provide a Blanc de Blancs in 1965 followed by a Blanc de Noirs in 1967. Now their son, Hugh Davies, leads the winery’s management and winemaking team.
The Schramsberg estate in Napa Valley’s famed Diamond Mountain District is a registered historic landmark with Napa’s first caves, hand-dug in the 1880s, and its first hillside vineyards. Quality focus drives all aspects of wine production starting with access to over 120 cool-climate sites in Carneros, Marin, Mendocino and Sonoma, which result in over 200 separate lots. Unique among California sparkling wine houses, Schramsberg ferments about 25 percent of its juice in oak barrels to produce rich, flavorful, complex wines.
Most of Schramsberg’s viticultural and winemaking practices are carried out by hand: grapes are hand harvested, the wines are handcrafted, and the bottles are stacked and riddled in underground caves. The family and the winery embody excellence and innovation in winemaking, as well as preservation of their land, their history and their community.
Reaching up California's coastline and into its valleys north of San Francisco, the North Coast AVA includes six counties: Marin, Solano, Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake. While Napa and Sonoma enjoy most of the glory, the rest produce no shortage of quality wines in an intriguing and diverse range of styles.
Climbing up the state's rugged coastline, the chilly Marin County, just above the City and most of Sonoma County, as well as Mendocino County on the far north end of the North Coast successfully grow cool-climate varieties like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and in some spots, Riesling. Inland Lake County, on the other hand, is considerably warmer, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc produce some impressive wines with affordable price tags.
Representing the topmost expression of a Champagne house, a vintage Champagne is one made from the produce of a single, superior harvest year. Vintage Champagnes account for a mere 5% of total Champagne production and are produced about three times in a decade. Champagne is typically made as a blend of multiple years in order to preserve the house style; these will have non-vintage, or simply, NV on the label. The term, "vintage," as it applies to all wine, simply means a single harvest year.