Wine Spectator 91
“Refined and vibrant, with floral strawberry and yeasty almond aromas and plush, layered lemon curd and vanilla spice flavors.” Tim Fish, October 31, 2017
The 2013 Blanc de Noirs expresses generous aromas of pear, peach, apricot, and caramel, which gradually layer with fragrances of fresh baked bread. Lush flavors coat the palate with candied grapefruit, lemongrass, marzipan and a hint of orange zest. This sparkling wine delivers a clean, lingering finish. – Winemakers Sean Thompson and Hugh Davies
Varietal Composition: 85% Pinot Noir, 15% Chardonnay
“Blanc de Noir,” meaning “white from black,” gets its name from the Pinot Noir grapes used to make this complex, medium-body sparkling wine. Schramsberg pioneered the Blanc de Noirs style in the United States, releasing the first such American sparkler in 1967. The key to producing this complex Blanc de Noirs is Schramsberg’s vast and varied focus on diverse cool-climate vineyards. Pinot Noir from Carneros and Anderson Valley combine with fruit from low-yielding Sonoma and Marin coastal vineyards to develop a sparkling wine with a breadth of fruitful aroma and flavor. Select Chardonnay lots give zest and backbone to the blend.
Making a white wine from a red grape requires great care: hand-picked fruit, early morning harvest, optimal fruit maturity and delicate pressing. A balance of bright flavors, crisp acidity and minimal tannins is achieved. Barrel and malolactic fermentation of particular wine lots add richness and body. Yeast contact in the bottle harmonizes all the elements together in a mature, toasty style. The youthful fruit character of the wine will develop and soften with additional age in the bottle. With proper storage, this sparkling wine will be delicious for many years, even a couple of decades to come.
Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs is particularly well-suited to serve with a variety of foods, including soft and nutty cheeses, macadamia nut-crusted halibut, and pork tenderloin with fresh rosemary and lemon thyme.
Appellation: North Coast
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Schramsberg's history dates back to the 19th century, when German immigrant Jacob Schram first made his home and started his winery on Diamond Mountain.
Over one hundred years later Jack and Jamie Davies would restore the Schramsberg estate in 1965. They set out to produce sparkling wine – specifically, "America's most prestigious, select and admired sparkling wine; chosen for special guests, special gifts, pampering one's self and expressing one's taste in unique products." Through the decades, this spirit of innovation earned Schramsberg and the Davies worldwide praise and recognition.
Schramsberg has also played a role in world history. The Blanc de Blancs was used for President Nixon's 1972 "Toast to Peace" with China's Premier Zhou Enlai (see timeline). Schramsberg's sparkling wines have been served at official State functions by every U.S. Presidential administration since.
Schramsberg's founders, Jack and Jamie Davies were determined to seek out a simpler, more meaningful life. In 1965, after a yearlong search, they discovered a run-down winery on the mountainside above St. Helena. The 19th century Victorian mansion presided over the tangled remains of once stately gardens and underground cellars. The historic Schramsberg property had been abandoned for years, but the Davies were looking for a challenge. On that day they decided Schramsberg would be brought back to life.
The Davies had an ambition to make wine, but not just any wine. They were setting out to produce a world-class sparkling wine, and it was a lofty goal. Later that year, the 1965 Blanc de Blancs came to be, and would be the first commercial use of Chardonnay in American sparkling wine.
Schramsberg sparkling wines are produced from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes grown in a broad array of cool-climate North Coast vineyards located in Napa, Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin counties. The winemakers draw from more than 110 individual vineyard sites to create over 250 base wines each year. These wines are then artfully blended to create Schramsberg's 12-14 distinctive sparkling wines each year.