Sat 25 Dec 2010
Let’s launch the Fourth Annual “12 Days of Christmas with Champagne and Sparkling Wine” — my favorite writing that I do all year — with the Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs Brut 2007, North Coast. Schramsberg first made a blanc de blancs (“white of whites”) sparkling wine in 1965. The composition is 100 percent chardonnay. The North Coast designation exists in order to give producers the leeway to use grapes from several counties and regions north of San Francisco. For the 2007 rendition, winemaker Hugh Davies drew from vineyards in Napa County (59%), Sonoma County (31%), Mendocino (7%) and Marin (3%). A sample for review.
Oh, this is one cool, sleek blond of a blanc de blancs with tons of character under its cool, sleek kiss of limestone and shale and its heedless festive froth of tiny silver bubbles. The bouquet is buoyant with yeast, freshly baked biscuits and toasted hazelnuts, all of which unfold to reveal hints of roasted lemon and lemon balm, quince, ginger and orange zest, atop a bed of scintillating minerality. This sparkling wine is quite dry, quite crisp and lively, a model of elegance and finesse, rounded yet nervy, a touch agitated, with slightly nutty citrus flavors permeated by limestone and, as it nears the finish, an increasingly bright, spicy quality. One would not regret drinking this every day. 12.7 percent alcohol. Production was 20,550 cases, so there’s more than enough to go around. Excellent. About $36.
Once again, I will try not to repeat sparkling wines and products from Champagne that I have used in the three previous editions of this series. Perhaps the same producer, occasionally, but not the same wine.
Tomorrow, for the 2nd Day of Christmas, we look to a region in northeastern France.