Fine Napa Valley Sparkling Wines since the 60s


Schramsberg Vineyards in Napa Valley has been run since1965 by the Davies, first Jack and Jamie Davies, and now their son Hugh Davies and  has been making high quality sparkling wines since then. Actually founded in 1862 by Jacob Schram, it was the first hillside vineyard in Napa Valley. Jacob ran the vineyard until 1905 when he died, and his son Herman took over, but phylloxera and Prohibition killed the business, so Herman sold the 200 acre property in 1916.

Today the modern Schramsberg makes sparkling wines and uses the Méthode Champenoise, the traditional method for producing sparkling wines used in Champagne. Their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes grown come from numerous vineyards, in Napa, Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin counties. Click here to see a map of the vineyards.

Their first wine was a Blanc de blancs, 100% Chardonnay sparkling wine, in 1965, from grapes from the Charles Krug winery. I'm sipping a lovely glass as I type. Their second was their Blanc de noirs, 100% Pinot Noir, in 1967. In 1968 they started a Cuvée de Gamay of Napa Gamay grape and a Brut Rosé,  and in 1973 Crémant demi-sec, using the Flora grape, which is a cross between Semillon and Gewürztraminer developed at the University of California in Davis.

Besides their well known sparkling wines, they also make Davies Vineyards Pinot Noir (Ferrington, Londer and Nobles vineyards) and J. Davies Cabernet (Diamond Mountain District).

Their sparkling wines are primarily vintage wines except as noted and include their Blanc de blancs, their most popular wine and a tasting note follows, a Blanc de noirs (all Pinot Noir) that goes well with foods including lighter meats and that I have enjoyed before, and their two top of the line wines, the J. Schram and the Reserve (all Pinot Noir) bottlings.

They do make a wide variety of other sparklers too, such as their vintage Brut Napa Valley Carneros (all Chardonnay), vintage Brut Anderson Valley (all Pinot Noir), a late disgorged Blanc de blancs which spends nearly a decade aging on its lees, a vintage Brut Rose, a vintage Cremant Demi-Sec which is semi-sweet, and two non vintage wines, Mirabelle and Mirabelle Brut Rose.Schramsberg Blanc de blancs 2007

Tasting Note: Schramsberg Blanc de blancs 2007 - Rated A-

A light yellow color

The nose is crisp and clean, with a little apple.

On the palate it is pure and precise, nearly delicate and superbly balanced. Quite dry, showing hints of apple. This is more about elegance than complexity and that is not a shortcoming!

At about $30 on sale, this is a wonderful deal, and that's coming from me, a Champagne guy commenting on a California bubbly. I'll buy this again!